Case Caption: Symone James v. Samuel FaustCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2014-0038Date: 02/24/2015Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: Summary:

In a child custody dispute, the Superior Court failed to follow the required procedure and failed to properly consider the best interests of the child in setting the terms of custody and visitation in its order. Although custody determinations are reviewed for abuse of discretion, such review is impossible where the Superior Court fails to explain its reasoning. Here, the Superior Court failed to comply with the two-step procedure required in custody determinations, requiring the court to (1) outline a set of relevant factors that it will use to determine the best interests of the child, and (2) explain how its findings of fact regarding those factors are supported by the evidence introduced at the hearing. The order also failed to set out a permanent and unambiguous scheme governing custody until the child's eighteenth birthday. Therefore, the Superior Court's June 14, 2014 custody order is vacated and the case is remanded for the court to set out a permanent custody arrangement after following the required procedure and affording the parties an opportunity to examine the guardian ad litem under oath in accordance with their procedural due process rights.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion