Case Caption: Todd P. Jung v. Maria RuizCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2012-0142Date: 11/19/2013Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In considering an appeal from a decision of the Family Division of the Superior Court in a child custody case granting a mother's motion to amend a settlement agreement, permitting her daughter to relocate with mother from St. Croix to Sarasota, Florida, while it might have been helpful and even desirable for the Superior Court to have issued additional findings specifying why it determined that it was in the child's best interests to be with her mother over her father, particularly in light of the amount and substance of evidence concerning the child's relationship with her father and life on St. Croix, as compared to the lack of definitive statements regarding her proposed life in Florida or information pertaining to the relationship between the child and her mother, it still cannot be said that the court arbitrarily placed the child with her mother. Rather, it appears that the court considered the child's age, her gender, the fact that she enjoyed Florida and that both parents appeared to have done well raising her, coupled with the mother's changed employment circumstances and the father's high position of employment, and came to the conclusion that it would be best to allow the child to relocate with her mother. This Court is not in the position to determine, in the first instance, which factors should have been considered by the Superior Court. Instead, on appeal, that court's conclusion-and whatever considerations were involved-is reviewed to determine whether it constitutes an abuse of discretion. In this case, the record does not indicate that the Superior Court abused its discretion in allowing the child to relocate with her mother, nor does the court's reasoning appear to be based on clearly erroneous findings of fact. The Superior Court's order modifying the custody arrangement and granting mother physical custody of the child and granting father visitation is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion