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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Steven D. v. Nicole J. (8/16/2013) sp-6812

Steven D. v. Nicole J. (8/16/2013) sp-6812

         Notice:  This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the PACIFIC  REPORTER .  

         Readers are requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts,  

          303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878, email  

                                                                                        

          corrections@appellate.courts.state.ak.us.  



                    THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA  



STEVEN D.,                                              )  

                                                        )         Supreme Court No. S-14792  

                            Appellant,                  )  

                                                        )         Superior Court No. 3AN-01-12605 CI  

          v.                                            )  

                                                        )        O P I N I O N  

NICOLE J.,                                              )  

                                                        )        No. 6812 – August 16, 2013  

                            Appellee.                   )  

                                                        )  



                   Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third  

                                      

                   Judicial District, Anchorage, Mark Rindner, Judge.  



                   Appearances:  John C. Pharr, Law Offices of John C. Pharr,  

                                                

                   Anchorage, for Appellant.  Phyllis Shepherd and Stephanie  

                   Patel, Law Offices of Dan Allan and Associates, Anchorage,  

                                                                 

                   for Appellee.  



                   Before:  Fabe, Chief Justice, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger,  

                                

                   Justices. [Winfree, Justice, not participating.]  



                   FABE, Chief Justice.  



I.        INTRODUCTION  



                   A woman living in Alaska filed a petition in Alaska to enforce summer  

                                                                                 



visitation with her son, who lives in Tennessee with his father.  After the superior court  



resolved the visitation issue, the father appealed, arguing that the superior court lacked  

                                                                      



jurisdiction to hear the case or, in the alternative, that the superior court should have  

                      


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

voluntarily ceded jurisdiction to Tennessee because Alaska is an inconvenient forum.  



                                                                                     

We conclude that the superior court had jurisdiction to hear the case and did not abuse  



its discretion by deciding that Alaska is not an inconvenient forum.  



II.       FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS  

                    Steven D. and Nicole J.1 were married in 1994 in Fairbanks and have two  

                                                                                                                      



children, Christopher and Warren. After seven years of marriage, Steven filed a petition  

                                                                                                    



for a protective order against his wife in Alaska, alleging that Nicole had physically  



                                                                                

attacked him and Christopher, and that Nicole had disappeared with the children for  



                                                                        

weeks at a time. Two weeks later, Steven filed a divorce complaint in superior court in  



Alaska.  



                                                   

                    The superior court found that Nicole represented a credible threat to the  



                                                                                                 

physical safety of Steven and the children and granted Steven’s petition for a protective  



                                                                                         

order.  In 2004, after litigating the divorce action in Alaska for several years, Steven and  



                                                                      

Nicole reached a settlement granting Steven joint legal custody and primary physical  



              

custody of the children in Tennessee, where he had since moved.  During the summer  



        

and at other specified times, the children were to fly to Alaska to visit Nicole.  The  



settlement agreement was approved by the superior court in March 2004.  



                                                              

                    In May 2012 Nicole filed a motion in Alaska to enforce visitation, claiming  



                                                                                               

that Steven had refused to surrender the children for summer visitation when she flew  



                                                                      

to Tennessee to collect them.  The next day, a Tennessee circuit court issued an ex parte  



                                                                                           

order exercising temporary emergency jurisdiction over the children and preventing the  



                                                                    

children from being removed from Steven’s care until either the Tennessee circuit court  



                                                                                            

or the superior court in Alaska had conducted a full hearing.  Steven filed an opposition  



          1         To protect the family’s privacy, we use initials instead of full last names.  



                                                               -2-                                                             6812  


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

to Nicole’s motion to enforce visitation in Alaska and moved to transfer jurisdiction over  

                                                           



the proceedings to Tennessee.  



                                                                                                          

                    In June 2012 the superior court in Alaska held a hearing on the motion to  



                                                2  

enforce visitation as to Warren.   The superior court found that it had continuing and  



                                          

exclusive jurisdiction over the case under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and  



                                                                                                    

Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and declined to transfer jurisdiction to Tennessee.  After  



                                                                     

hearing testimony from Steven and Nicole and Nicole’s husband, the superior court ruled  



that it would enforce summer visitation if Nicole could pass a drug test.  



                                                                                                              

                    Nicole waited about three weeks before taking and passing a hair follicle  



                                                                                       

test as ordered by the superior court.  After giving Nicole an opportunity to explain the  



                 

delay, the superior court found that she had not justified her failure to obtain a timely  



                                                                                           

drug test.  The court ruled that summer visitation in 2012 would not occur, but that  



                                                                                   

visitation over Christmas break might occur if Nicole could take and pass a drug test  



within a month prior to the scheduled visit.  At Steven’s request, the superior court  



                                       

committed to writing  its  decision to deny Steven’s motion to transfer jurisdiction to  



Tennessee.  



                                                                                                     

                    Despite prevailing below on his opposition to Nicole’s motion, Steven now  



appeals the superior court’s order, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction under the  



UCCJEA or, in the alternative, that the superior court should have voluntarily ceded  



                                                                                                                    

jurisdiction as an inconvenient forum to Tennessee.  Steven raises no other issues on  



appeal.  



          2         Christopher turned 18 two days after Nicole filed her motion to enforce  



                                                                                                           

visitation, and the superior court recognized that he is no longer subject to the visitation  

schedule laid out in the settlement agreement.  



                                                               -3-                                                           6812  


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

III.	     STANDARD OF REVIEW  



                                                                                                              

                    Whether a court can exercise jurisdiction under the UCCJEA is a question  

                                                  3  A superior court’s decision to decline, or to refuse  

of law, which we review de novo.                                                                   

to decline, jurisdiction as an inconvenient forum is reviewed for abuse of discretion.4  An  

                                                                                                                           



abuse of discretion is found only if we are left with a “definite and firm conviction” that  

                                          

a mistake has been made.5  

                                         



IV.	      DISCUSSION  



          A.        The Superior Court Had Jurisdiction Under The UCCJEA.  



                    1.	       The  superior  court  retained  jurisdiction  because  substantial  

                              evidence related to the dispute remains in the state.  



                    Alaska Statute 25.30.310 grants exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over a  



child custody case to the court that made the initial child custody determination (in this  

                                                                                    

case the superior court in Alaska) until certain conditions are met.6   If both parents and  

                                                                                                    



                                                                                               7  

the child move out of state, the superior court loses jurisdiction.   In this case, Nicole  



remains  in  Alaska.    If  one  parent  remains  in  the  state,  the  superior  court  retains  

              



jurisdiction until it finds that the child no longer has a significant connection to the state  

                                                                             



and  that  substantial  evidence  regarding  “the  child’s  care,  protection,  training,  and  

                                                                                           



          3         Atkins v. Vigil , 59 P.3d 255, 256-57 (Alaska 2002) (per curiam) (citations       



omitted).  



          4         Mikesell v. Waterman , 197 P.3d 184, 186 (Alaska 2008) (citing Pinneo v.  



Pinneo , 835 P.2d 1233, 1235 (Alaska 1992)).  



          5         Id. (citing Sawicki v. Haxby, 186 P.3d 546, 550 (Alaska 2008)).  



          6         AS 25.30.310(a).  



          7         AS 25.30.310(a)(2).  



                                                              -4-	                                                      6812
  


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

                                                                                       8  

                                                                                                                    

personal relationships” is no longer available in the state.                               The question in this case is  



whether substantial evidence relevant to summer visitation is available in Alaska.  



                    The  superior  court  concluded  that  substantial  relevant  evidence  was  



available  in  Alaska  because  the  dispute  revolved  around  Nicole’s  drug  use  and  



conditions in her home:  



                    While the children and [Steven] no longer live in Alaska,  

                                                                           

                     [Nicole] does.  And the allegations raised in the motion now  

                                                                            

                    before  the  court  primarily  involve  evidence  of  matters  in  

                    Alaska  (i.e.  drug  use,  living  conditions,  lack  of  proper  

                    hygiene  in  mother’s  home).    The  court  thus  finds  that  

                                                                                

                    substantial evidence remains available in this state regarding  

                    the child’s care.  



We review the superior court’s determination that substantial evidence related to the  



                                                                                    9  

dispute was available in Alaska for abuse of discretion.    



                    The allegations Steven made opposing Nicole’s motion to enforce visitation  



                                                                                                          

support the superior court’s finding. In his opposition, Steven argued that Nicole should  



not be allowed to have visitation for several reasons specific to Alaska, including that  



                    -          Warren has returned from Nicole’s house with ringworm and fungal  

                               infections.  



                                                                                             

                    -          Warren and Christopher reported illegal drug use in Nicole’s home  

                              while they were there.  



                    -          Nicole’s mentally unstable sister lives with her and has threatened  

                              the children.  



          8         AS 25.30.310(a)(1).
  



          9         See Clifton v. Shannon             , 93 So. 3d 70, 72 (Miss. App. 2012) (citing White
  



v. White, 26 So. 3d 342, 346-48 (Miss. 2010)) (committing the factual question whether       

substantial evidence was available in the state to the discretion of the lower court).  



                                                                -5-                                                             6812  


----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

                         -           Nicole has a significant criminal history in Alaska.  



                                                                                                                     

                         -           Nicole has the means to hide the children  and has done so in the  

                                     past.  



                                                                                                                                             

Steven’s only  allegation  specific to  conduct in  Tennessee was that Nicole arrived in  



                                                                                                                                                10  

Tennessee before her scheduled visitation and “made an embarrassing scene.”                                                                         



                         Steven argues that the evidence available in Alaska relates only to Warren’s  



                                                                                                                  11  

                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                      Evidence of Warren’s  

care, not his “protection, training, and personal relationships.”  



“protection,  training,  and  personal  relationships,”  Steven  argues,  is  in  Tennessee,  



Warren’s home for nearly a decade.  



                         But the only question before the superior court was whether it is safe for  



                                   

Warren to visit his mother in Alaska.  Adverse or dangerous conditions in Nicole’s home  



                                                                                                                                

could  certainly  affect  his  “care,  protection,  training,  and  personal  relationships”  if  



                                                 

visitation were enforced.  Therefore, the superior court did not abuse its discretion by  



concluding that substantial evidence remains in Alaska.  



                                                                                                                                        

                         The present case can be distinguished from one in which the conditions in  



                                      

both homes must be evaluated and compared, such as a more general modification of the  



                 

custody  arrangement.  Where one party alleges changed conditions, for example, the  



                                                                                                                  

court must engage in a careful examination of the best interests of the child by comparing  



            10           Steven also made other allegations that were not specific to either state.                                                       He  



alleged that Warren does not wish to visit his mother in Alaska, that Warren is fearful of     

Nicole, and that Nicole is generally combative and abusive toward the children.  



            11          See AS 25.30.310(a)(1).  



                                                                             -6-                                                                           6812  


----------------------- Page 7-----------------------

                                                             12  

                                                                  

the quality of care offered in both homes.                       In such a case, substantial relevant evidence  



may not be present in Alaska.  



                    Steven  cites  several  foreign  cases  to  argue  that  the  trial  court  erred  by  



                                                                                     13  

                                                                                            But  those  cases  merely  

finding  that  substantial  evidence  remains  in  Alaska. 



                                     

demonstrate that courts do not have jurisdiction when there is no significant connection  



                                                        14  

                                                                                                

to or substantial evidence in the state.                    They do not show that the superior court erred  



in this case by finding that substantial evidence is available in Alaska.  



                                                                                                

                    We conclude that the superior court did not abuse its discretion by finding  



                                  

that the most relevant and important factor in modifying the custody agreement was the  



                                          

safety of Nicole’s home or by finding that evidence of the conditions in Nicole’s home  



                                                                                    

was available in Alaska.  Therefore, the superior court had exclusive jurisdiction over  



                                                                    

the case because Nicole lives in Alaska and “substantial evidence remains available in  

this state regarding the child’s care.”15  



          12        See  AS  25.20.110(a),   (g)   (authorizing  the  court  to  modify  custody  if  



required   by   a  change  in   circumstances  and   requiring   the  court,   when   doing  so,  to  

consider the factors set out in AS 25.24.150(c)).  



          13  

                           

                    See Kalman v. Fuste , 52 A.3d 1010 (Md. Spec. App. 2012); Billhime v.  

                                               

Billhime , 952 A.2d 1174 (Pa. Super. 2008); Clark v. Clark, 801 N.Y.S.2d 863 (N.Y.  

App. Div. 2005); M.B. II v. M.B. , 756 N.Y.S.2d 710 (N.Y. Fam. 2002); In re Marriage  

of Medill, 40 P.3d 1087 (Or. App. 2002).  



          14        See, e.g., Billhime , 952 A.2d at 1177 (finding that a Pennsylvania court  



                                                                             

lacked jurisdiction because, in addition to lacking a significant connection to the state,  

                                                                                            

“essentially all of the evidence presented at the evidentiary hearing demonstrates that  

information relating to the children’s welfare is now located in the state of Florida”).  



          15        See AS 25.30.310(a)(1).  



                                                               -7-                                                         6812
  


----------------------- Page 8-----------------------

                   2.	      Steven’s arguments that the superior court lost continuing and  

                                                                                              

                            exclusive jurisdiction are not persuasive.  



                   Steven also argues that, regardless of where the relevant evidence was  



located, the superior court lost continuing and exclusive jurisdiction of the case.  First,  

                                                             



Steven  argues  that  the  superior  court  lost  jurisdiction  because  of  Warren’s  lengthy  



absence from the state.  Second, Steven argues that the                           superior court’s exercise of  



jurisdiction was improper in the face of Tennessee’s temporary assumption of emergency  



jurisdiction.  We conclude that neither argument has merit.  



                            a.	       The superior court did not lose jurisdiction because of  

                                     Warren’s lengthy absence from the state.  



                   Steven briefly argues that AS 25.30.310(a) only allows the superior court  



                                                                                   

to  exercise  jurisdiction  in  this  case  if  it  finds  both  that  the  child  has  a  significant  



connection to Alaska and that substantial evidence remains in Alaska.  The implied  



argument is that jurisdiction should fail in Alaska even if substantial evidence remains  



here because, due to their lengthy absence from Alaska, Warren and his father no longer  



have a significant connection to the state.  



                                                                                                   

                   But AS 25.30.310(a)(1) is not a list of requirements that must be fulfilled  



                                                

to retain jurisdiction, it is a list of requirements that must be fulfilled to lose jurisdiction.  



                                                                                         

The plain language of the statute requires an absence of both a significant connection to  



the state and substantial evidence before jurisdiction is relinquished:  



                                                          

                   (a)      Except as otherwise provided in AS 25.30.330, a court  

                   of  this  state  that  has  made  a  child  custody  determination  

                   consistent  with  AS  25.30.300  or  25.30.320  has  exclusive,  

                   continuing jurisdiction over the determination until  



                            (1)       a court of this state determines that neither the  

                   child, the child and one parent, nor the child and a person  

                   acting as a parent have a significant connection with this state  

                                                                      

                   and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this  



                                                           -8-	                                                   6812
  


----------------------- Page 9-----------------------

                                                                                               

                     state  concerning  the  child’s  care,  protection,  training,  and  

                                                         [16] 

                     personal relationships.  



Unless  the  court  finds  that  both  elements  are  lacking,  Alaska  retains  exclusive,  



                                     17  

continuing jurisdiction.                  



                     Steven  also  argues  that  the  legislative  history  of  the  UCCJEA  and  the  



                          

related Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act compel the conclusion that those statutes do  



not allow an Alaska court to retain jurisdiction where the child has resided in a different  



                                                                              

state for a long time. “When interpreting statutes we use a sliding-scale approach, under  



                                                 

which the clearer the statutory language is, the more convincing legislative history must  



                                                            18  

be  to  justify  another  interpretation.”                         The  legislative  history  in  this  case  is  not  



convincing.  



                                                                

                     First, Steven cites portions of the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.  But  



that Act specifies that the state that made an initial custody determination (in this case  



Alaska) retains jurisdiction as long as the state has jurisdiction under state law and at  



                                                                                               19  

                                                                                                   Because the Act simply  

least one contestant (in this case Nicole) remains in the state.  



defers to state jurisdictional requirements, it fails to advance the analysis in this case.  



           16        AS 25.30.310(a)(1) (emphasis added).  



           17        See   Misyura  v.  Misyura ,    244  P.3d  519,  521  (Alaska  2010)  (citing  



AS 25.30.310) (noting that the superior court retained jurisdiction over the parties and                                

their children despite one parent’s move out of state with the children);                                          E.H. v. State,  

Dep’t  of  Health  &  Soc.  Servs.,  Div.  of  Family  &  Youth  Servs. ,  23  P.3d  1186,  1192  

(Alaska 2001) (discussing AS 25.30.310(a)(1) as a single condition that could terminate  

                                                                          

jurisdiction,  not  as  two  independent  conditions,  either  of  which  could  terminate  

                                                               

jurisdiction).  



           18  

                                                                                                                              

                     Interior Cabaret, Hotel Restaurant & Retailers Ass’n v. Fairbanks N. Star  

Borough , 135 P.3d 1000, 1002 (Alaska 2006) (citing Bartley v. State, Dep’t of Admin.,  

 Teachers’ Ret. Bd., 110 P.3d 1254, 1258 (Alaska 2005)).  



           19        28 U.S.C. § 1738A(d) (2006).  



                                                                  -9-                                                           6812
  


----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

                      Second, Steven cites pieces of legislative history discussing the purpose of           



                      20  

the UCCJEA.                But these sources say only that the UCCJEA was enacted to resolve  

                                                                                



                                                                                        21  

conflicting jurisdictional requirements between states.                                     They are not relevant to the  



issue at hand.  



                     Finally, Steven cites statements of Assistant Attorney General Deborah  



                                                                                                                    22  

Behr before the Alaska Legislature about the workings of the UCCJEA.                                                     Behr stated  



that “[i]f the child has been out of state for a long time and there is better information  

                                                                                                                 23  But Behr was  

                                                                                                                      

elsewhere, the Alaska Court could defer jurisdiction to another state.”  



testifying about the courts’ discretionary power to cede jurisdiction as an inconvenient  



                                                                                                     

forum under AS 25.30.360, an issue discussed below.  We do not believe that she was  



                                                    

suggesting that an Alaska court can never have jurisdiction if “the child had been out of  



                                                                             

state a long time,” especially where substantial evidence pertaining to that child’s care  



remains in Alaska.  We therefore conclude that the legislative history Steven presents is  



insufficient to override the clear language of the statute.  



           20        See  UNIFORM  CHILD  CUSTODY  JURISDICTION  AND  ENFORCEMENT  ACT  



( 1 9 9 7 ) ,             a t        3       ( N o v .            2 0 ,         1 9 9 8 ) ,            a v a i l a b l e               a t   

http://www.uniformlaws.org/shared/docs/child_custody_jurisdiction/uccjea_final_97 .  

pdf; Minutes, H. Health, Educ. & Soc. Servs. Comm. Hearing on H.B. 335, 20th Leg.,  

                                                        

2d Sess. (Jan. 29, 1998) (statement of Deborah Behr, Assistant Attorney Gen.).  



           21        See supra note 20.  

                             



           22  

                                                                           

                     See Minutes, S. Health, Educ. & Soc. Servs. Comm. Hearing on H.B. 335,  

20th Leg., 2d Sess. (Mar. 25, 1998) (statement of Deborah Behr, Assistant Attorney  

Gen.); Minutes, H. Judiciary Standing Comm. Hearing on H.B. 335, 20th Leg., 2d Sess.  

(Feb. 23, 1998) (statement of Deborah Behr, Assistant Attorney Gen.); Minutes, H.  

Health, Educ. & Soc. Servs. Comm. Hearing on H.B. 335, 20th Leg., 2d Sess. (Jan. 29,  

                                                                                               

1998) (statement of Deborah Behr, Assistant Attorney Gen.).  



           23        Minutes, S. Health, Educ. & Soc. Servs. Comm. Hearing on H.B. 335, 20th  



Leg., 2d Sess. (Mar. 25, 1998) (statement of Deborah Behr, Assistant Attorney Gen.).  



                                                                  -10-                                                             6812
  


----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

                             b.	       The  superior  court’s  failure  to  communicate  with  the  

                                       Tennessee  court  about  its  assumption  of  temporary  

                                       emergency jurisdiction did not divest the superior court  

                                       of continuing jurisdiction.  



                               

                    Steven also argues that the superior court’s exercise of jurisdiction was  



improper in the face of Tennessee’s temporary assumption of emergency jurisdiction.  



Steven contends that, after learning of the proceeding in Tennessee, the superior court  



in Alaska should have stayed its proceedings to communicate with the Tennessee judge.  



                                                                             

The superior court’s failure to do so, Steven argues, warrants reversal.  But Steven has  



failed to show that this lapse, if erroneous, was reversible error.  



                    The  Tennessee  court  entered  an  ex  parte  order  asserting  temporary  



                                                              

emergency jurisdiction on May 31, 2012, the day after Nicole filed a motion in Alaska  



to enforce her visitation.  The order stated that the Tennessee court would contact the  



                                                                                                                      

tribunal in Alaska to determine when a hearing could be held, and the order was set to  



expire June 22, 2012 or whenever a subsequent order was entered.  On June 14, the  



superior court in Alaska held a hearing on Nicole’s motion to enforce visitation.  



                   An  exercise  of  temporary  emergency  jurisdiction  conveys  only  limited  

power to make temporary orders necessary to protect a minor during an emergency.24  



          24       See, e.g.,  In re Briana C. , 2006 WL 2349189, at *1 (Cal. App. 2006); see  



also  In  re  Jorge  G.,  78  Cal.  Rptr.  3d  552,  557  (Cal.  App.  2008)  (holding   that  the  

assumption of temporary emergency jurisdiction pursuant to the UCCJEA                                           does  not  

confer  upon  the  state  exercising  emergency  jurisdiction  the  authority  to  make  a  

permanent custody disposition); Olson v. Olson, 2002 WL 31056935, at *3 (Minn. App.  

                                                                                                     

2002)  (noting  that  custody  determinations  made  under  the  temporary  emergency  

jurisdiction provision of the UCCJEA are temporary and their purpose is to protect a  

                                                                               

child  until  an  order  is  entered  by  a  court  with  exclusive,  continuing  jurisdiction  or  

jurisdiction  under  either  of  two  other  provisions  allowing  a  permanent  custody  

                   

determination); In re E.J ., 738 S.E.2d 204, 207 (N.C. App. 2013) (holding that, when  

                                               

exercising temporary emergency jurisdiction, any orders entered shall be temporary  

                                                                                                          (continued...)  



                                                            -11-	                                                     6812
  


----------------------- Page 12-----------------------

An exercise of temporary emergency jurisdiction by a foreign court does not destroy  



jurisdiction in the court that made the initial custody order:  “The court that entered the  



                                                                      

initial custody order can: (1) retain jurisdiction and decide whether to modify its initial  



                                

order, (2) decline to exercise jurisdiction in favor of a court with a more convenient  



forum,  or  (3)  decline  to  exercise  jurisdiction  because  the  petitioner  ‘engaged  in  



                                   25  

unjustifiable conduct.’ ”              



                                                                 

                    The court assuming temporary emergency jurisdiction must communicate  

                                                                        26  And the court that made the initial  

                                                                                                        

with the court that made the initial custody order.  



custody  order  should,  upon  learning  of  a  foreign  court’s  assumption  of  temporary  



                                                                                             27  

                                                                                                   “Simply  put,  [the  

emergency  jurisdiction,  communicate  with  the  foreign  court. 



                                                                                                

temporary emergency jurisdiction provision] requires both courts to communicate with  



                  28  

                      The purpose of this communication is to “resolve the emergency, protect  

each other.”                                                              



the safety of the parties and the child, and determine a period for the duration of the  

temporary order.”29  



          24(...continued)  



protective orders only);  Staats v. McKinnon, 206 S.W.3d 532, 546 n.31 (Tenn. App.  

2006) (recognizing that emergency jurisdiction is inherently temporary in nature and  

                                                                                                              

does not, as a general rule, authorize courts to make permanent child custody decisions).  

                                        



          25       In re Ruff , 275 P.3d 1175, 1182 (Wash. App. 2012) (citing Washington’s  



version of AS 25.30.320, .360, and .370).  



          26  

                                                                                                  

                   See AS 25.30.330(d); T.C.A. § 36-6-219(d); see also In re Ruff , 275 P.3d  

at 1181.  



          27       See AS 25.30.330(d); T.C.A. § 36-6-219(d).  



          28       In re Ruff , 275 P.3d at 1181.  



          29       AS 25.30.330(d).  



                                                            -12-                                                      6812
  


----------------------- Page 13-----------------------

                                                                                                             

                      In this case, the Tennessee court did not contact Judge Mark Rindner, nor  



                                                                             

did Judge Rindner contact the Tennessee court. Steven asks us to conclude that a mutual  



failure to communicate in this case required the Alaska court to yield jurisdiction to a  



foreign court asserting only temporary jurisdiction for a limited purpose.  



                      But Steven offers no support for his conclusion that failure to communicate  



                   

constitutes  reversible  error.    The  ex  parte  order  from  the  Tennessee  court  clearly  



indicated that it was responsible for contacting Judge Rindner, although the best practice  



                                                                                                                       

would have been for Judge Rindner to contact the Tennessee court as well.  In any event,  



                                    

the hearing in Alaska was held promptly, before the expiration date contemplated in the  



                                                                                                                       

emergency jurisdiction order.  Steven has not shown that communication between the  



two judges would have affected this hearing schedule.  Nor can Steven, having prevailed  



                                                                                                   

on the merits in the visitation enforcement action, show that he was prejudiced in the  



          30  

                                                           

result.       We therefore conclude that the superior court’s failure to contact the Tennessee  



court was not reversible error in this case.  



                                                                                      

           B.	        The Superior Court Did Not Abuse Its Discretion By Refusing To Cede  

                     Jurisdiction To Tennessee As An Inconvenient Forum.  



                                                    

                      Steven argues that the superior court abused its discretion by failing to cede  



                                                                                     

jurisdiction to Tennessee under AS 25.30.360, which allows a court to decline to exercise  



                                                     

jurisdiction if it “determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and  



                                                                                          31  

                                                                                               In particular, Steven argues  

that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum.” 



that  the  superior  court  erred  by  denying  his  inconvenient  forum  motion  without  



sufficiently discussing the relevant statutory factors.  We disagree.  



           30        See  In re C.T. , 121 Cal. Rptr. 2d 897, 906 (Cal. App. 2002) (holding that       



failure  to  communicate  did  not  warrant  reversal   where  there  was  no  showing  of  

prejudice).  



           31	       AS 25.30.360(a).  



                                                                  -13-	                                                               6812  


----------------------- Page 14-----------------------

                   Alaska Statute 25.30.360(b) states that, when ruling on an inconvenient  



forum motion, “the court . . . shall consider all relevant factors,” including:  



                                                                           

                   (1)	      whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely  

                                                                                    

                             to continue in the future and which  state could best  

                             protect the parties and the child;  



                   (2)	      the length of time the child has resided outside this  

                             state;  



                   (3)	      the  distance  between  the  court  in  this  state  and  the  

                             court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;  



                   (4)	      the relative financial circumstances of the parties;  



                                                            

                   (5)	      an agreement of the parties as to which state should  

                             assume jurisdiction;  



                                   

                   (6)	      the  nature  and  location  of  the  evidence  required  to  

                             resolve the pending litigation, including testimony of  

                             the child;  



                   (7)	      the ability of the court of each state to decide the issue  

                                                              

                             expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present  

                                                             

                             the evidence; and  



                   (8)	      the familiarity of the court of each state with the facts  

                                                                                        

                                                                                [32] 

                             and issues in the pending litigation.  



                   In Szmyd v. Szmyd, we held that it was an error under the Uniform Child  



                                                                               

Custody Jurisdiction Act (the precursor to the current UCCJEA) for a court to deny an  



                                                                                         33  

                                                                                             Without a sufficiently  

inconvenient forum motion without articulating its reasoning. 



                                    

thorough  discussion  of  the  superior  court’s  reasoning,  it  is  “difficult  to  determine  



whether the court abused its discretion, that is, to determine whether it considered the  



          32       AS 25.30.360(b).  



          33       641 P.2d 14, 19 (Alaska 1982).  



                                                            -14­                                                      6812  


----------------------- Page 15-----------------------

                                                                                               34  

statutory factors, or what interpretation it placed on the facts.”                                 Although Szmyd was  



                                                      

discussing  an  earlier  statute  with  a  different  set  of  factors,  the  requirement  that  the  



              

superior court articulate its reasoning for denying an inconvenient forum motion remains  

good law.35  



                    Because the hearing was limited to the narrow question of whether summer  



                                                                                                      

visitation at Nicole’s home should be enforced, we conclude that the determinative factor  



in this case was the sixth factor, “the nature and location of the evidence required to  



                                               36  

resolve the pending litigation.”     The superior court made sufficient findings to allow  



     

us to  conclude that it considered this statutory factor.  It found that “in light of the  



allegations made by [Steven] regarding [Nicole], Alaska is not an inconvenient forum.”  



Read  in  context,  the  superior  court  was  clearly  referencing  its  earlier  finding  that  



“substantial evidence remains available in this state regarding the child’s care.”  And  



                                                                                           

while  the  superior  court’s  findings  and  discussion  could  have  been  more  detailed,  



                                                     

addressing all of the factors, it was enough to address only the “pertinent and potentially  



                                   37  

                                              

determinative factors.”                We therefore conclude that the superior court did not abuse its  



discretion by denying Steven’s inconvenient forum motion.  



          34        Id.  



          35         Cf. Mikesell v. Waterman, 197 P.3d 184, 190 (Alaska 2008) (citing another   



holding in Smzyd as good law).  



          36        AS 25.30.360(b)(6).  



          37         Virgin v. Virgin, 990 P.2d 1040, 1047 (Alaska 1999) (quoting Borchgrevink  



v. Borchgrevink , 941 P.2d 132, 138 (Alaska 1997)) (internal quotation marks omitted)  

(holding that “searching for errors and remanding any time the trial court fails to make  

                                            

explicit findings for each factor would not further children’s best interests”).  



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----------------------- Page 16-----------------------

V.       CONCLUSION  



                                                                

                  Because  the  superior  court  had  jurisdiction  under  the  Uniform  Child  



                                                                                              

Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, and because the superior court’s refusal to  



cede  that  jurisdiction  as  an  inconvenient  forum  was  not  an  abuse  of  discretion,  we  



AFFIRM the judgment of the superior court.  



                                                         -16-                                                 6812
  

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