This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat.  480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).


In Re Paternity of M.R.S.:  Dawn Marie Stemig,


Richard Francis Schilling,

Filed August 13, 1996
Lansing, Judge

Ramsey County District Court
File No. F59150447

Dawn Kujawski, fka Dawn Marie Stemig, Post Office Box 10657, 
St. Paul, MN 55110 (Pro Se).

Sylvia Ivey Zinn, Burke J. Ellingson, Brendel and Zinn, Ltd., 46 
East Fourth Street, Suite 804, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for 

	Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, 
Kalitowski, Judge, and Willis, Judge.

	U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

	We review the denial of a motion to modify custody and 
visitation of six-year-old M.R.S.  The district court acted within its 
discretion in continuing joint legal custody and allowing 
supervised visitation, and we affirm. 


	In determining a motion to modify custody, the district 
court should continue an existing custody order unless a change in 
circumstances makes modification necessary to serve the child's 
best interests.  Minn. Stat.  518.18(d) (1995 Supp.).  The changes 
that justify a modification are circumstances that endanger a child's 
physical or emotional health or impair the child's emotional 
development.  Id. at (d)(iii).  We will sustain the district court's 
factual findings unless they are clearly in error, and we are required 
to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the findings.  
Ayers v. Ayers, 508 N.W.2d 515, 521 (Minn. 1993).  The district 
court's decision on a modification motion will be upheld unless it 
is an abuse of discretion.  Sefkow v. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d 203, 210 
(Minn. 1988).
	Dawn Kujawski argues that the district court abused its 
discretion by concluding she failed to present sufficient evidence 
of endangerment to M.R.S. to support a modification from joint to 
sole legal custody.  It is true that two agencies and the guardian ad 
litem recommended that Kujawski have sole legal custody instead 
of joint legal custody with M.R.S.'s father, Richard Schilling.  But 
in exercising its independent judgment, the district court is not 
obligated to adopt a particular professional recommendation.    
Pikula v. Pikula, 374 N.W.2d 705, 710 (Minn. 1985); Rogge v. 
Rogge, 509 N.W.2d 163, 166 (Minn. App. 1993), review denied 
(Minn. Jan. 28, 1994).  The evidence presented at the hearing on 
whether Schilling abused M.R.S. was sharply contested, and the 
district court had to make a credibility determination.  The fact 
finder, not this court, assesses credibility.  Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d at 
	The district court expressly discounted testimony by Dr. 
Wright, M.R.S.'s therapist, finding that her role was 
"overwhelmingly partisan and that her findings, such as they are, 
lack objective collateral support."  Part of the court's reason for 
discounting Dr. Wright's opinion was her testimony that she was 
not concerned with the truth of M.R.S.'s statements on whether 
there had been abuse.  The guardian ad litem and the two agency 
reports heavily relied on Dr. Wright's opinion.  By expressly 
discounting Dr. Wright's evaluation and testimony, the district 
court implicitly discounted the reports that relied on Dr. Wright.  
An independent evaluator reported that M.R.S. "did not disclose 
any incidents of abuse or maltreatment."  We conclude that the 
district court did not abuse its discretion in finding insufficient 
evidence of endangerment.
	The district court correctly noted that Kujawski's essential 
argument was that the parties could not cooperate in raising M.R.S. 
 This is not a statutory reason to modify custody, unless it rises to a 
level endangering the child.  Minn. Stat.  518.18(d).  The court 
found that the parties "disliked" each other.  But the court did not 
find that they were unable to cooperate in raising M.R.S.  The 
court instead stated that "[t]he parties have cooperated on those 
matters encompassed within joint legal custody such as medical 
care, education, or religious training."  The court concluded that 
the parties' mutual dislike did not amount to endangerment.
	The evidence supports the court's determinations.  The 
parties agree on basic health care, religious training, and general 
upbringing.    See Chapman v. Chapman, 352 N.W.2d 437, 441 
(Minn. App. 1984) (reversing joint custody because parties had 
"basic differences" in these areas).  The testimony supports the 
district court's finding that the parties could cooperate on basic 
issues with M.R.S.  See Rosenfeld v. Rosenfeld, 529 N.W.2d 724, 
726 (Minn. App. 1995) (affirming award of joint legal custody 
when parties were hostile but court found they could "set aside 
their personal feelings for the best interest of the children when 
required.").  The district court did not abuse its discretion in 
denying Kujawski's request for sole legal custody.


	In deciding Kujawski's motion to restrict Schilling's 
visitation, the district court has "broad discretion," and its 
determination will not be overturned absent an abuse of discretion. 
 See Olson v. Olson, 534 N.W.2d 547, 550 (Minn. 1995).  The 
court shall modify visitation if it serves the child's best interests.  
Minn. Stat.  518.175, subd. 5 (1994).  The court may restrict 
visitation if it finds that visitation is "likely to endanger the child's 
physical or emotional health or impair the child's emotional 
development."  Id.; see also Anderson v. Archer, 510 N.W.2d 1, 4 
(Minn. App. 1993) (court must find that the current visitation 
endangers the child).
	Kujawski argues that the district court erred by re-
establishing Schilling's visitation which had been suspended to 
investigate the allegations of abuse.  But the district court restricted 
Schilling's visitation by requiring supervision.  The court 
concluded that although Kujawski presented insufficient evidence 
of abuse, M.R.S. currently fears Schilling, and immediate 
visitation would endanger M.R.S.'s emotional health and 
development.  The court ordered supervised visitation for at least 
one year.  The court also ordered an impartial therapist to address 
this fear and prepare M.R.S. to re-establish a relationship with 
	The evidence supports the court's findings and its ultimate 
conclusion.  An independent evaluator concluded that M.R.S. "is 
under a great deal of emotional and psychological strain."  And the 
Ramsey County Community Corrections Domestic Relations 
Report also recommended supervised visitation.  The court did not 
abuse its discretion in denying Kujawski's motion to deny Schilling 
	Schilling raised two procedural issues and requested 
attorneys' fees.  Contrary to Schilling's argument, Kujawski timely 
filed her appellate brief.  The transcript was delivered by mail on 
March 14, 1996.  Kujawski had until April 16 to serve and file her 
brief, and she filed it on April 15.  We also deny Schilling's motion 
to strike portions of Kujawski's brief because the argument, 
although peripheral, does not improperly raise a new issue.  
Finally, we deny Schilling's request for attorneys' fees and costs.  
Although Kujawski's appeal was ultimately unsuccessful, it is not 
without merit.   See Radloff v. First Am. Nat. Bank, 470 N.W.2d 
154, 157 (Minn. App. 1991) (sanctions are not appropriate simply 
because a party did not prevail on the merits),  review denied 
(Minn. July 24, 1991).