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Amber Rose Markwood v. Joshua Robert Markwood

April 17, 2012

AMBER ROSE MARKWOOD, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOSHUA ROBERT MARKWOOD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Second Judicial District, State of Idaho, Latah County. Hon. John R. Stegner, District Judge; Hon. John Judge, Magistrate.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lansing, Judge

2012 Opinion No. 20

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Order modifying child custody, affirmed.

Joshua Robert Markwood appeals from the district court's affirmance of a post-divorce custody order which allowed his ex-wife, Amber Markwood, to retain primary physical custody of their children after she moved from Moscow, Idaho to The Dalles, Oregon.

I.

BACKGROUND

Joshua and Amber were divorced on September 25, 2009, after approximately six years of marriage. During the marriage, they had two daughters who were born in 2004 and 2005. The parties were awarded joint legal and physical custody of the children according to an agreed parenting plan that was attached to and incorporated into the divorce decree. Under the parenting plan, which was structured around the children's school schedule, the children were to reside with Amber during the week in Moscow, Idaho, and with Joshua on the weekends in Clarkston, Washington, which is about a forty-five-minute drive from Moscow.

At some point, Joshua began residing with his girlfriend in Clarkston, and Amber became engaged to marry a man*fn1 who resided in The Dalles, Oregon, which is a four to five-hour drive from Clarkston. In 2010, Amber took the children with her to The Dalles and resided there for a few months. She apparently attempted to adhere to the terms of the custody agreement by transporting the children to Clarkston to stay with Joshua and his girlfriend on the weekends. Joshua and Amber attempted to negotiate new arrangements for physical custody of the children with Amber residing in The Dalles, but they failed to reach an agreement. Joshua then filed a motion to modify the custody arrangement and Amber presented a counterproposal for modification. Joshua sought primary physical custody, and Amber sought to maintain primary physical custody after relocating to The Dalles. While awaiting trial, Amber apparently returned to Moscow temporarily to allow the children to attend the fall semester of school in accord with the existing parenting plan.

After a trial, the magistrate court ordered that Amber would retain primary physical custody while living in The Dalles. In consideration of the increased travel time necessary to transport the children between the parents' places of residence, the magistrate also reduced the frequency of the children's stays with Joshua, but increased their duration. Joshua appealed the magistrate court's decision to the district court, which affirmed.

Joshua now appeals to this Court. He asserts that the magistrate court misperceived the issue at trial, abused its discretion by allowing Amber to relocate to The Dalles, and abused its discretion by allowing her to retain primary physical custody after that relocation.

II.

ANALYSIS

A. Standard of ...


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