Case Caption: Cristia Allenbaugh v. Shane I.M. HodgeCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2017-0059Date: 02/27/2019Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: 2019 VI 7Summary:

Orders entered by the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands pertaining to a child custody case are vacated and the Superior Court's jurisdiction over the child custody matter is terminated. A request for imposition of monetary sanctions is refused. Although the custody action commenced within six months of the child leaving the Virgin Islands as permitted by 16 V.I.C. § 127 (a)(1), the Virgin Islands was never the home state of the child, who had never lived in the territory for six months. Moreover, the record lacks evidence that the child has a substantial nexus to the territory or that another state has declined to exercise jurisdiction. On the date the action was filed in Superior Court, another state had already become the child's home state and had jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination. Because the Superior Court lacked jurisdiction to enter its 2014 custody order, that order and all orders emanating from it are vacated, and all notices of appeal relating to those orders are moot. The parties are encouraged to initiate custody proceedings in a state that has jurisdiction. This matter is remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion