The Montana Supreme Court denies a Glasgow couple's petition regarding their custody case

In a brief but swift response, the Montana Supreme Court has decided it will not overturn a district judge's no-court order against a Glasgow couple fighting with the state over custody of their child.

On Tuesday, a day after Todd Kolstad and his wife, Krista Cummins-Kolstad, filed an emergency petition with the state's highest court, a five-judge panel led by Chief Justice Mike McGrath said the couple had presented no evidence that that Valley District Court Judge Yvonne Laird had made mistakes in handling the custody case. Additionally, the Supreme Court order states that the motivation for the emergency appeal was likely because the couple was facing prison time for violating Laird's word of mouth, but the judge had not found contempt.

The judges said the Kolstads had every legal means at their disposal to justify why they should not be held in contempt because the trial was ongoing. The judge also has to make findings that an appeals court could review.

The verdict sets off a confrontation in which the Kolstads will appear before Laird at a hearing on February 21 in Glasgow where they will have to testify about why they decided to violate an existing gag order regarding custody of their child. They had also asked the state Supreme Court to take “supervisory control” of the case, but the court also refused.

“First, (the Kolstads) do not provide any documentation supporting their petition regarding the proceedings or the orders issued by the district court,” said the Supreme Court order released Tuesday. “No errors of law or contingency factors have been established. After the hearing, the parties may take any remedial action they deem necessary.”

The issue stems from a dispute between the parents and the state child protection division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The case has drawn national and international attention, including comments from Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, who defended the department.

In August 2023, Kolstad's child was removed from the home because of suicidal thoughts and actions. The state had set up an inpatient psychiatric bed in Wyoming to help stabilize the 14-year-old. Kolstad's child identifies as male, but the Kolstads said their religious beliefs rejected this and viewed the transition as a sin. They have stated that they do not agree with their child's identity.

The Kolstads originally refused placement in Wyoming because they feared that doctors there would encourage or even facilitate their child's transition. In court filings, they told the Supreme Court that they were motivated because they believed Montana had protected families that did not support their children's transition and feared sending the child to a state that did not have the protections.

The protection they understood was the controversial Senate Bill 99, which banned families and youth from receiving gender-affirming care from licensed medical providers in the state. However, this law was challenged and ordered but never came into effect.

The Kolstads were placed under a gag order after they began posting information on social media. They appeared on national conservative news outlets and their story went viral on the Canadian social media site Reduxx.

According to court records, the state was awarded temporary custody of the child, who is currently in a group home in Billings.

OP 24-0071 Final Order_Deny – Order

Comments are closed.