Case Caption: In re N.A.W. & D.I.W., minorsCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2013-0082Date: 07/09/2014Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In denying a father's motion to have the mother of their child held in contempt for violating the terms of a child custody agreement, the Superior Court erred in determining that insufficient evidence had been presented as to the later of two contested episodes in which the mother was charged with wilfully disobeyed the Court's order of November 15, 2012 embodying the custody provisions, since that episode occurred after the order had been entered. A prior occasion, which occurred before entry of the custody order, could not serve as the basis for a contempt finding. Despite the Superior Court's error with respect to the later occasion, the decision to impose a contempt sanction rests in its sound discretion, and all of the evidence presented may be considered, including both parties' conduct regarding court orders, in ascertaining whether imposition of a sanction is warranted. In this case, because evidence was presented that both the father and the mother had violated the terms of their stipulated child custody agreement as entered in the custody order, the Superior Court did not abuse its considerable discretion in declining to hold the mother in contempt. The Superior Court's order of September 19, 2013, denying the father's motion to show cause why the mother should not be held in contempt and sanctioned for violating the stipulated child custody agreement embodied in the November 15, 2012 Order of that Court, is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion