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Divorce settlement at issue in ND high court

The North Dakota Supreme Court is considering a request from the former wife of a Fargo to overturn a settlement in the couple's dissolution of marriage case. As part of the divorce proceedings, she argued that he had both drugged and raped her, but she wound up, nevertheless losing custody of the couple's three children to the doctor. She is also asserting that the trial court acted erroneously in the way in which it divided up marital property.

The doctor had previously entered a plea in a criminal case about his conduct in which he would accept punishment for reckless endangerment and gross sexual imposition without admitting guilt, while acknowledging that the evidence could be sufficient to support a jury finding that he had sexual relations with his wife without her consent and gave her a sedative known as propofol. He subsequently withdrew that plea, however, and a jury found him not guilty after hearing the evidence during a full blown trial. His medical license was then temporarily suspended, but he has since gotten it back.

The doctor argues that everything that went on between himself and his wife was with her consent and that the accusations of crime were false statements she concocted to battle him over child custody. The trial judge in the divorce case found the wife's version of event's unconvincing after hearing both her testimony and his. The North Dakota Supreme Court will only alter the ruling or order further proceedings if it finds a legal error or a procedural error in the way the trial court made its decision. Proceedings in the trial court are where both sides have an opportunity to present evidence, as well as to frame the legal issues in the case and preserve them for possible appeal.

Source: The Forum, "ND Supreme Court hears appeal of divorce settlement from ex-wife of Fargo doctor" Emily Welker, Jan. 02, 2014

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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