Wiederanders v. Wiederanders

Decision Date14 May 1971
Docket NumberNo. 8703,8703
Citation187 N.W.2d 74
PartiesMarjorie Edythe WIEDERANDERS, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Rex E. WIEDERANDERS, Defendant and Appellant. Civ.
CourtNorth Dakota Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. The provisions of a divorce decree relating to maintenance of minor children may be modified by the court from time to time on a proper showing of changed conditions and circumstances.

2. Whether the provisions for support and maintenance of minor children should be modified, on a proper showing, rests largely within the sound discretion of the trial court.

3. The award of alimony by the trial court is a continuance of the husband's obligation to support the wife, even after divorce. There is no reason why such obligation should continue after another husband has assumed it, on remarriage of the wife, unless some extraordinary circumstance justifying its continuance is shown.

4. The circumstances surrounding the parties in this case are not so extraordinary as to justify the continuance of any payments by the former husband to his former wife after the remarriage.

5. The Supreme Court will not give advisory opinions, and the existence of an actual controversy is an essential requisite to an appeal. Therefore, a moot question will not be determined on appeal.

6. For reasons stated in the opinion, the amended judgment is modified to terminate the requirement that a $50,000 life insurance policy be maintained by the former husband for the benefit of the former wife after her remarriage. In other respects, the amended judgment is affirmed.

Lanier & Knox, Fargo, for plaintiff and respondent.

McIntee & Whisenand, Williston, for defendant and appellant.

STRUTZ, Chief Justice.

An action for divorce was brought by the respondent wife in February 1966. The appellant husband filed an answer, admitting that he had been guilty of acts of extreme cruelty and praying that the court grant a divorce to the plaintiff. He further asked that the court award the custody of the minor son to him or, if the minor children were to be awarded to the plaintiff-respondent, that the court grant reasonable rights of visitation to him, the defendant-appellant.

The case was tried to the Honorable Eugene A. Burdick, judge of the District Court of Williams County, and judgment was entered on June 29, 1966.

The decree as entered provided, among other things, that the custody, care, and control of the two minor children of the parties be awarded to the respondent, subject to reasonable visitation rights to the appellant, and that the appellant pay the sum of $150 per month for the support of each child until age eighteen; that the respondent was to be paid alimony in the sum of $300 per month until such children reached the age of eighteen years, at which time the amount of alimony payment was to be increased to $400 per month for the balance of the respondent's natural life or until she should remarry. The judgment further required the appellant to keep in force a Blue Cross--Blue Shield health and accident policy for the two minor children until completion of their college education, and that he was to maintain such health and accident policy for the benefit of the respondent until her death or remarriage.

In addition, the judgment ordered the appellant to keep in force an insurance policy on his life with the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company in the sum of $50,000, with the respondent as irrevocable beneficiary; and that the appellant had the right to use the dividends on said policy to maintain a further policy of $30,000 on his life, with the two children named as beneficiaries, which policy was to be kept in force until the children reached the age of eighteen years. There were other provisions in the judgment which are not pertinent to this appeal and need not be mentioned.

Approximately three years after the entry of judgment, respondent brought proceedings to modify the decree. In such proceedings, she requested an increase in the child-support payments from $150 to $300 per month for each child. The motion to modify was made on the ground that the circumstances and conditions of the parties had materially changed.

At the hearing on such motion, it was disclosed that the respondent had remarried prior to her motion to modify; that the two children of the parties, at such time, were living with the respondent and her new husband. In arriving at the costs of maintenance of the two children, the respondent had allocated one-half of the expenses of maintaining the household, consisting of herself, her husband, and the two children, as expenses for maintaining the children. However, the appellant asserts, and the respondent admits, that the daughter of her new husband was living with the family for two or three days each week; however, respondent considers the cost of her maintenance to be insignificant.

The record discloses that the appellant's income had increased approximately sixteen per cent over what it had been when the decree was entered in 1966.

During the hearing on the motion to modify the decree, the respondent requested that the appellant furnish proof of the existence of the two life policies provided for under the terms of the original judgment. The appellant countered by demanding that, in view of the respondent's remarriage, the judgment be modified to eliminate the requirement that he maintain a $50,000 policy of his life, naming the respondent as irrevocable beneficiary.

On the above record, the trial court ordered the modification of the original judgment as follows:

--Beginning with July 1970, the appellant was to pay to the respondent the sum of $195 per month for the support of the minor son of the parties and the sum of $235 per month for the support of the minor daughter, a total of $430 for...

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8 cases
  • Gosbee v. Bendish
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • February 23, 1994
    ...N.W.2d 386, 389 (N.D.1977); Peoples State Bank of Velva v. State Bank of Towner, 258 N.W.2d 144, 145 (N.D.1977); Wiederanders v. Wiederanders, 187 N.W.2d 74, 78 (N.D.1971); Wahpeton Pub. Sch. Dist. No. 37 v. North Dakota Educ. Ass'n, 166 N.W.2d 389, 393 (N.D.1969), reh'g denied; State ex re......
  • Schumacher v. Schumacher, 9186
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • May 12, 1976
    ...of the parties have materially changed. Section 14--05--24, NDCC; Foster v. Nelson, 206 N.W.2d 649 (N.D.1973); Wiederanders v. Wiederanders, 187 N.W.2d 74 (N.D.1971); Bryant v. Bryant, 102 N.W.2d 800 This court has also repeatedly held that a trial court's findings as to alimony, support, a......
  • Gasser v. Dorgan, 9391
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • December 19, 1977
    ...and the real merits of the controversy are so unsettled that public policy demands a determination of the issue. Wiederanders v. Wiederanders, 187 N.W.2d 74 (N.D.1971); Hart v. Bye, 86 N.W.2d 635 (N.D.1957); State v. Sieg, 63 N.D. 724, 249 N.W. 714 (N.D.1933); State v. Stutsman, 24 N.D. 68,......
  • Hansen v. Dennis
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • July 10, 1975
    ...opinion volunteers to decide the issue. In the past this court has stated that it would not give advisory opinions, Wiederanders v. Wiederanders, 187 N.W.2d 74 (N.D.1971), and that questions extraneous to the decision need not be, and will not be, considered. Stockmen's Ins. Agcy, Inc. v. G......
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