TF v. RD, CAAP-21-0000270

CourtCourt of Appeals of Hawai'i
Citation151 Hawai‘i 131,508 P.3d 1217 (Table)
Docket NumberCAAP-21-0000270
Parties TF, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RD, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date09 May 2022

151 Hawai‘i 131
508 P.3d 1217 (Table)

TF, Plaintiff-Appellee,
RD, Defendant-Appellant.

NO. CAAP-21-0000270

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i.

May 9, 2022

On the briefs:

RD, Defendant-Appellant, pro se.

Erin L. Lowenthal, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

(By: Wadsworth, Presiding Judge, Nakasone and McCullen, JJ.)


Self-represented Defendant-Appellant RD (Father) appeals from the Family Court of the Second Circuit's February 25, 2021 "Order on Plaintiff's Motion to Delete Provision #4 or Modify Provision #4 in the Order on Defendant's Motion to Modify Divorce Decree and to Establish Paternity Filed February 26, 2015."1

Upon careful review of the record and the briefs submitted by the parties and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised by the parties, we resolve Father's points of error as follows.

(1) Father argues that the Family Court abused its discretion by modifying the Custody Order based on his decision to live in Alaska.

When the family court modifies a child custody order, the single inquiry focuses on the child's best interest. See Waldecker v. O'Scanlon, 137 Hawai‘i 460, 470, 375 P.3d 239, 249 (2016). Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS ) § 571-46 (2018) empowers the court to modify or change a custody award "whenever the best interests of the child require or justify the modification or change ...." HRS § 571-46(a)(6) (2018). Furthermore, the statute provides a non-exhaustive list of factors to assist in the determination of what is in the best interest of the child.

Here, Father filed an ex parte motion to take minor child (Child ) from Maui to Alaska from March 28, 2019 to April 2, 2019. He argued that travel was authorized under provision four of the Divorce Decree. Father declared that the ex parte order was necessary because Plaintiff-Appellee TF (Mother ) was uncooperative in allowing Child to travel with him. The Family Court granted Father's ex parte motion on March 27, 2019.2

Mother declared that when Father was granted the ex parte motion, he "tricked Mother into believing he wanted...

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