This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




In Re the Marriage of:

Joan Ann Schultz, petitioner,



Howard Craig Schultz,


Filed December 22, 1998


Harten, Judge

Houston County District Court

File No. F5-96-431

Laura J. Seaton, Mary A. Kircher, Bosshard & Associates, P.O Box 966, 505 King Street, Suite 334, LaCrosse, WI 54602-0966 (for appellant)

Michelle M. Guillien, Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd., US Bank Place, Suite 700, P.O. Box 786, LaCrosse, WI 54602-0786 (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Harten, Judge.



The district court ordered that the parties' child continue to attend school in the same school district despite appellant's move to another district. Because we see no abuse of discretion, we affirm.


During their marriage, appellant Joan Schultz and respondent Howard Schultz adopted a son, A.S., now almost age 9. The dissolution judgment included the parties' stipulation to appellant having custody of A.S.

To enable respondent (a truckdriver who works every weekend from Friday evening until Monday morning) to spend time with A.S., the district court established the following visitation schedule: A.S. goes to respondent after school on Mondays, remains with him through Thursday morning or Friday morning in alternate weeks, returns to appellant after school Thursday or Friday, and remains with her until Monday morning. Because respondent does not work during the week, he is home with A.S. after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and alternate Thursdays.

At the time of dissolution, both parties lived in Caledonia and A.S. was enrolled in the Caledonia school district. But the parties worked in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and appellant intended to move, probably to La Crescent. The judgment reflected her intention:

[T]he parties understand that [appellant] will be moving closer to her work and [respondent's] work after the 1997-98 school year. [A.S.'s] and [respondent's] schedule will need to change if the distance is not workable. [Appellant's] residence governs [A.S.'s] school enrollment. [Appellant] shall give [respondent] three (3) months notice of the date and location of her intended move, which would include [A.S.'s] move to a new school because of her residency change.

Respondent agreed to this paragraph because he assumed that when appellant moved to LaCrescent, A.S. would have to change schools.

Appellant, however, moved not to LaCrescent but to a rural home only one mile outside the Caledonia school district, from which A.S. could be transported to his Caledonia district school, about 18 miles away. The present visitation schedule means that A.S. needs transportation between school and appellant's home only on Monday mornings, Friday afternoons, and alternate Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings. If A.S. were to attend school outside the Caledonia district, his visitation schedule would need to be changed because he could not commute between a different district and respondent's Caledonia home.

When respondent learned that appellant's new home was only one mile outside the Caledonia school district, he moved the district court for an order requiring A.S. to attend school in the Caledonia district so that A.S. would have minimal disruption and could continue with the present visitation schedule. Following a hearing, the district court granted respondent's motion. This appeal followed.


The trial court has extensive discretion in deciding visitation questions and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion. Manthei v. Manthei, 268 N.W.2d 45, 45-6 (Minn.1978).

The court noted in its memorandum that:

[Appellant's] move can be made without moving [A.S.] from the Caledonia school. [A.S.] will be only moderately inconvenienced with a slightly longer bus ride. Keeping [A.S.] in the Caledonia district means that his schedule does not have to be changed. The best interest of the child is served by changing his routine as little as possible.

Appellant argues first that respondent's motion for enrollment in the Caledonia school district was actually a motion for a change in custody and that the district court modified custody without finding either the endangerment or the impairment that are the statutory prerequisites to custody modification within one year of entry of a judgment. See Minn. Stat. § 518.18(c) (1996). But there has been no modification of custody. As did the district court, we conclude that equating a requirement to stay in a particular school district with a change in custody is "a stretch of reasoning that the court is unwilling to make." Having A.S. stay in the same school district and follow the same visitation schedule he had last year will not modify his custody.[1] Appellant also claims that ordering A.S. to remain in the Caledonia school district with his present visitation schedule violates the stipulation reflected in the parties' dissolution judgment that appellant have physical custody. But the scheduling order issued with the judgment provides that A.S. spends the majority of his non-school days with appellant and about the same number of nights with each parent. Continuing this schedule does not violate the stipulation.

Appellant relies on Ayers v. Ayers, 508 N.W.2d 515 (Minn. 1993) (denying a parent having joint custody permission to move to another state because the move would be a de facto custody modification and deprive the other parent of custody throughout the school year). Her reliance is misplaced because, unlike the projected move in Ayers, having A.S. remain in the Caledonia school district will not affect the amount of time he spends with each parent.

The district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering that A.S. remain in the same school district so his visitation schedule can be preserved.


[1] For this reason, appellant's reliance on Ross v. Ross, 477 N.W.2d 753 (Minn. App. 1991), Lilleboe v. Lilleboe, 453 N.W.2d 721 (Minn. App. 1990) and Itasca County Soc. Servs. v. David, 379 N.W.2d 700 (Minn. App. 1986), all concerning custody modification, is misplaced.