Fox v. Grace

In Fox v. Grace,[1] the supreme court held that an Alaskan court can modify an out-of-state custody order if it determines that the child, the parent, and all persons acting as parents live outside the issuing state.  In early 2018, the Graces filed motions in an Oregon court to modify their custody arrangement with Fox, the father of their grandchildren, and to hold Fox in contempt for missed visitation.  The court did not modify custody, but did add alternative visitation days to make up for those missed.  Fox responded by filing a motion in an Alaskan superior court to modify the Oregon court’s visitation order and terminate the Graces’ mandatory visitation rights.  The superior court held that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction under section 25.30.320 of the Alaska Statutes to modify the order unless Oregon released jurisdiction.  Fox appealed.  The supreme court held that according to section 25.30.320 of the Alaska Statutes, an Alaska court can modify an out-of-state custody order if that court has released its jurisdiction or if neither the child, a parent, or a person acting as a parent resides in the state whose courts issued the order.  The court explained that a court must consider both sources of jurisdiction under the statute before it finds that it lacks it.  It noted that while the superior court correctly recognized that the Oregon court had not given up jurisdiction, the superior court had failed to consider section 25.30.320(2).  The court continued, concluding that the Oregon court’s finding that the Graces had a child-parent relationship with the children was not dispositive as that finding did not make them a person acting as a parent under Alaska law.  The supreme court vacated the superior court’s order and remanded the case for further consideration, holding that if neither the child, a parent, or someone acting as a parent resides in the state whose courts gave a custody order, then an Alaska court may modify that state’s custody order.

 

 

[1] No. S-16996, 2018 WL 6817305 (Alaska Dec. 28, 2018).

Fox v. Grace

In Fox v. Grace,[1] the supreme court held that an Alaskan court can modify an out-of-state custody order if it determines that the child, the parent, and all persons acting as parents live outside the issuing state.  In early 2018, the Graces filed motions in an Oregon court to modify their custody arrangement with Fox, the father of their grandchildren, and to hold Fox in contempt for missed visitation.  The court did not modify custody, but did add alternative visitation days to make up for those missed.  Fox responded by filing a motion in an Alaskan superior court to modify the Oregon court’s visitation order and terminate the Graces’ mandatory visitation rights.  The superior court held that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction under section 25.30.320 of the Alaska Statutes to modify the order unless Oregon released jurisdiction.  Fox appealed.  The supreme court held that according to section 25.30.320 of the Alaska Statutes, an Alaska court can modify an out-of-state custody order if that court has released its jurisdiction or if neither the child, a parent, or a person acting as a parent resides in the state whose courts issued the order.  The court explained that a court must consider both sources of jurisdiction under the statute before it finds that it lacks it.  It noted that while the superior court correctly recognized that the Oregon court had not given up jurisdiction, the superior court had failed to consider section 25.30.320(2).  The court continued, concluding that the Oregon court’s finding that the Graces had a child-parent relationship with the children was not dispositive as that finding did not make them a person acting as a parent under Alaska law.  The supreme court vacated the superior court’s order and remanded the case for further consideration, holding that if neither the child, a parent, or someone acting as a parent resides in the state whose courts gave a custody order, then an Alaska court may modify that state’s custody order.

 

 

[1] No. S-16996, 2018 WL 6817305 (Alaska Dec. 28, 2018).