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Severson v. Hutchinson

Supreme Court of South Dakota

September 25, 2013

Bobbie M. SEVERSON, f/k/a Bobbie M. Hutchinson, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
Kenneth N. HUTCHINSON, Defendant and Appellee.

Considered on Briefs on Aug. 27, 2013.

Page 73

Appeal from The Circuit Court of The Sixth Judicial Circuit Stanley County, South Dakota; John L. Brown, Judge.

Rose Ann Wendell, Pierre, South Dakota, for plaintiff and appellant.

David W. Siebrasse, Pierre, South Dakota, for defendant and appellee.

WILBUR, Justice.

[¶ 1.] Kenneth Hutchinson (Father) and Bobbie Severson (Mother) are the parents of five children. The trial court awarded primary physical custody of the children to Father. Mother appeals. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

[¶ 2.] Mother and Father were married in 1997. Five children were born to the marriage: two daughters, M.L.H. and A.M.H.; and three sons, J.R.H., Z.C.B.H., and M.J.H.

[¶ 3.] In March 2009, Father was removed from the marital home as a result of an investigation by the Department of Social Services. The investigation commenced because of Father's alleged abuse of one of the children. Father successfully completed the requirements of parenting classes and the allegations of abuse were eventually found to be " unsubstantiated with concern." [*] Also during this time, Mother obtained a temporary protection order against Father, but that order was eventually modified to a civil restraining order.

Page 74

[¶ 4.] In an effort to salvage their marriage following the Department of Social Services' investigation, the couple and the children began to reside together on the weekends. When efforts to save the marriage failed, Mother filed for divorce in March 2010.

[¶ 5.] In September 2010, however, the couple again reconciled and resided together with their children. This reconciliation period did not last long. The couple eventually divorced by stipulation and the judgment and decree of divorce was filed on December 9, 2010. The parties stipulated to joint legal custody with Mother having primary physical custody of the five children.

[¶ 6.] Also during that time, Mother was having a relationship with another man (new husband), whom she eventually married in 2011. Mother's relationship with her new husband was often violent. At one point during Mother's marriage to her new husband, Mother requested a domestic violence protection order against her new husband and a temporary protection order was granted. After Mother filed a motion to dismiss the protection order, the protection order was dismissed.

[¶ 7.] Several of the children have mental and emotional issues. M.L.H., the eldest daughter and child, and J.R.H., the eldest son, would often get into ...


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