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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Moore v. Moore (5/29/2015) sp-7013

Moore v. Moore (5/29/2015) sp-7013

         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@akcourts.us.  



                   THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA  



BRANDY MOORE,                                          )  

                                                       )        Supreme Court No. S-15712  

                            Appellant,                 )  

                                                       )        Superior Court No. 3AN-13-06985 CI  

         v.                                            )  

                                                       )        O P I N I O N  

JEREMY MOORE,                                          )  

                                                       )        No. 7013 - May 29, 2015  

                            Appellee.                  )  

_______________________________  )  



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

                                                                                   

                  Judicial District, Anchorage, Gregory Miller, Judge.  



                  Appearances:  Laurence Blakely, Mendel & Associates, Inc.,  

                                                                                

                  Anchorage, for Appellant.  Notice of nonparticipation filed  

                  by   Cameron   Compton,   Law   Offices   of   Dan   Allan   &  

                  Associates, Anchorage, for Appellee.  



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

                                

                  Bolger, Justices.  



                  FABE, Chief Justice.  



I.       INTRODUCTION  



                  Brandy and Jeremy Moore have one child, a ten-year-old daughter.   When  

                                                         



Brandy and Jeremy divorced in 2014, the superior court granted sole legal and primary  

                             



physical custody of the child to Brandy and awarded Jeremy unrestricted visitation,  



including visitation to foreign countries. Jeremy proposed taking the child to Micronesia  

                                                                                              



during  his  visitation  period  because  he  is  now  in  a  relationship  with  a  Micronesian  

                                                                                            


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

woman he met while he was stationed there with the Army.  Brandy asked the superior  



court to limit Jeremy's international visitation to countries that have ratified the Hague  



                   

Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  The superior court  



                                                         

denied Brandy's motion, and she now appeals, arguing that the superior court abused its  



discretion by allowing unrestricted international visitation.  She worries that if Jeremy  



                        

absconds with the child to a non-signatory country, the child will then be beyond the  



                                                                                            

jurisdiction of the Alaska court to enforce the custody order.  But because the superior  



                                                                                                          

court made an express finding that Jeremy's conduct raised no concerns about the safety  



and return of the child, we affirm.  Although the Hague Convention is one factor that  



                  

courts can look to in determining whether international visitation is appropriate when  



                                            

there are concerns about the safety and return of a child, it is simply one factor among  



many and is not dispositive.    



II.       FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS  



          A.        Facts  



                    Brandy and Jeremy married in 2003 and have one daughter, born in 2004.  



                                                                           

Jeremy was in the military while the parties were married and was deployed to Iraq in  



                                                                                        

2004, Afghanistan in 2007-08, and Micronesia in 2012-13. In 2014 Jeremy was told that  



                     

he was being involuntarily separated from the Army following an investigation in which  



                                                                                                      

the Army found Jeremy guilty of having an inappropriate relationship in Micronesia with  



a woman who was not his wife.  



                    The parties separated in May 2013 and divorced in July 2014.  Brandy  



                                                                     

alleges that since their separation, Jeremy has exercised only limited visitation with the  



child.  She reports that he had seven visits with the child from the time of the parties'  



                                                                                            

separation until their divorce trial over a year later, only three of which were overnight.  



                                                                           

She alleged at trial that in the past Jeremy has gone up to two months without requesting  



visitation.  Brandy has been the primary caregiver since their daughter was born.  



                                                              -2-                                                       7013
  


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

          B.        Proceedings  

                                         



                    A trial was held in part to determine Jeremy's visitation rights.  The parties  

                        



agreed that Brandy would have sole legal custody and primary physical custody, and that  

                                                                                



                                                                                                                 1  

Jeremy  would  have  reasonable  visitation  including  part  of  summer  break.     Brandy  



requested a graduated summer visitation schedule, with Jeremy progressing to have  



visitation for most of the child's summer break by 2016.  Jeremy requested that during  



                                                                   

his custodial time with the child he have "the option to take the child out of the country,"  



in particular to Micronesia.  



                                                                                             

                    Brandy testified that she did not want the child to travel to Micronesia with  



                                                                                                              

Jeremy because she thought she would have no legal recourse if Jeremy attempted to  



keep their child there, citing the fact that Micronesia is not a signatory to the Hague  



                                                                         

Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention).  



The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty that "provides for a civil remedy to return  



                                                                                  

a child to his or her 'habitual residence' after unlawful abduction or wrongful retention  



                              2  

                                                                              

in a foreign nation."   Brandy testified that she was hesitant to let their daughter travel  



abroad with Jeremy but that she would permit the child to visit foreign countries that had  



                                                                                                                  

ratified the Hague Convention.  Brandy asserted that legal protection under the Hague  



Convention was necessary because Jeremy had a demonstrated disregard for the law  



based on his Army infractions.  



          1         Jeremy testified that he intended to find work in the construction industry,  



which would require him to move every six to nine months.  He acknowledged that, as  

                                                                                           

a result, Brandy would be better able to provide the child with stability.  



          2         Abouzahr v. Matera-Abouzahr , 824 A.2d 268, 279 (N.J. Super. App. Div.  

                                                                    

2003); see 22 U.S.C.  9001-9141 (2012) (establishing procedures for implementing  

the Hague Convention in the United States).  



                                                              -3-                                                        7013
  


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

                                                 

                    Jeremy countered that Brandy's claims regarding the Hague Convention  



were pretext for the fact that she did not want him to take their daughter out of the  



country because she was resentful of his relationship with a Micronesian woman.  He  



                                                                                            

argued that Brandy "impermissibly influenced" the child by convincing her that he left  



                                                                           

because he "chose [the woman] over the child."  Jeremy also asserted that Brandy was  



                                                           

harassing him and refusing to facilitate and encourage his relationship with the child, and  



that Brandy's "behavior and mental state have deteriorated."  He alleged that Brandy was  



                                                                                      

stalking him by driving by his residence and forcing her way into his house; contacting  



                                                                                                       

his  Army  chain  of  command  and  making  false  claims  against  him;  and  yelling,  



                                                                                                 

threatening, and throwing items at Jeremy in front of the child.  Jeremy argued that he  



had sparse contact with the child because he was "scared of Brandy" and was worried  



        

that Brandy would again levy false claims against him with his Army chain of command.  



                                                                    

                    At the time of trial Jeremy was awaiting his discharge from the Army and  



                                                                                              

looking for civilian work both in the United States and abroad.  He argued that he wanted  



their daughter to be able to visit him wherever he resides and that it is in her best interest  



"to be able to visit different cultures."  



                    Superior  Court  Judge  Gregory  Miller  issued  a  decision  in  July  2014  



granting Brandy sole legal custody and primary physical custody.  The superior court  



                                         

ordered that "[t]here shall be no restriction on where Jeremy may travel with the child  



                                                                                         

during his visitation with the child.  Jeremy may travel out of the country including, but  



                                                                                                                      

not limited to Micronesia.  There is no restriction that Jeremy may not travel with the  



child to only Hague Convention countries."  The superior court granted visitation to  



Jeremy for parts of the summer of 2014 and every other weekend if he remained in  



                                                                                                   

Alaska during the school year.  The court granted Jeremy summer visitation for five full  



                                

weeks beginning  in  2015 and continuing every summer thereafter.  It also awarded  



                                                                                                

visitation during winter break in odd numbered years and spring break in even numbered  



                                                               -4-                                                         7013
  


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

years.   At the end of the decision, under the heading "Findings of Fact and Conclusions               



of Law," the superior court noted that "[t]he child custody and visitation is in the best                                                                   



interest of the child."  



                                                                   

                          Earlier, at the end of the trial in June, the superior court had provided more  



                                                                       

detail about its decision.  The court discussed each of the statutory best interest factors  

                                                                                                  3   It then rejected Brandy's request to  

                                                                                                                                                        

as they relate to custody and visitation in this case.  



limit foreign travel.  The court acknowledged Brandy's desire to avoid "plac[ing the  

                                                                                                                                                 



child] in any situation where [Jeremy] might take her and keep her and not return her,"  

                                                                                                                   



but concluded that it had "seen no evidence" and "heard no testimony that [Jeremy] has  

                                                                    



that intention or desire."   The superior court said that an example of that intention or  

                                                    



desire might be present if Jeremy "had a job offer in Micronesia, if he proposed to the  

                                                                                                                                                                



person  in  Micronesia  and  they  were  planning  to  live  over  there,"  or  if  similar  

                                                                                                                                



circumstances existed, but that it saw none of that here.  The superior court noted that  



                                                                                                                                                           

travel is broadening and enriching for children and stated, "I don't care if it's a Hague  



                                                                                                                                               

Convention country or not. [Travel] is a good thing, in my mind.  There are exceptions  



to that, of course.  But in general terms, that's what I'm finding."  



                          Brandy filed a motion for reconsideration at the end of July 2014.  She  



argued  that  the  superior  court  "failed  to  consider  [her]  arguments  regarding  the  



                                                     

significance of the Hague Convention and the prevention of parental child abductions  



                                                                                                           

when it expressly granted Jeremy the power to travel to a non-Hague country with the  



                                             

minor child."  Brandy reiterated her concern that "[i]f Jeremy travels to Micronesia, as  



                                                                                                                                                         

he wishes, the child is beyond the jurisdiction of this Court and the United States to  



                                                                                                                                           

enforce a child custody order" and argued that "[s]hould Jeremy decide to not return [the  



                                                                                                                                            

child], this Court has provided him with the means to do so."  Finally, Brandy asserted  



             3            See AS 25.24.150(c).  



                                                                                   -5-                                                                                 7013  


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

that the superior court's order "has overlooked the material fact that Jeremy's grant of  

                                                        



unfettered travel to non-Hague Convention countries with [the child] does not comport  

                                                                                                            



with the letter and the spirit of Alaska's child custody laws."  



                     Jeremy  opposed  the  motion  for  reconsideration  regarding  international  



travel and again argued that Brandy was using the fact that Micronesia is not a Hague  



Convention signatory "as pretext to prohibit visitation where the 'other woman' lives."  



                                                                              

                     The  superior  court  issued  a  short  order  in  September  2014  denying  



                                                                                                  

Brandy's motion for reconsideration "as to travel restrictions." Brandy appeals, arguing  



                                                                                     

that the trial court's award of unrestricted international travel was an abuse of discretion,  



asserting  that  "trial  courts  must  consider,  inter  alia,  a  foreign  country's  Hague  



                                                                                                  

Convention signatory status in determining whether it is in the best interest of the child  



                                                       

to allow [foreign] visitation" and that "unrestricted international travel is not in [the  



                     

child's] best interest," in particular.  She requests that this court "reverse the trial court's  



decision on the subject of international travel and remand with directions to issue an  



order allowing visitation to occur in Hague Convention signatories only and require the  



posting of security prior to travel."  Jeremy did not submit a brief on appeal.  



III.       STANDARD OF REVIEW  



                                             

                     "The  superior  court  has  broad  discretion  in  its  determinations  of  child  



                                         

custody.  We will not set aside the superior court's child custody determination unless  

                                                                                                         4  A factual finding  

                                                                                                                

its factual findings are clearly erroneous or it abused its discretion."  



is "clearly erroneous when our review of the entire record leaves us 'with a definite and  

                                                                                                                     



                                                                              5  

firm conviction that a mistake has been made.' "   "The trial court's factual findings  

                                 



          4         Limeres v. Limeres , 320 P.3d 291, 295-96 (Alaska 2014) (footnote omitted)  



(citing Cusack v. Cusack, 202 P.3d 1156, 1158 (Alaska 2009)).  



          5         Millette v. Millette         , 177 P.3d 258, 261 (Alaska 2008) (quoting                           Dingeman  



                                                                                                                 (continued...)  



                                                                 -6-                                                          7013
  


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

                                                                                                

enjoy particular deference when they are based 'primarily on oral testimony, because the  



                                         

trial court, not this court, judges  the credibility of witnesses and weighs conflicting  



                  6  

evidence.' "   There is an abuse of discretion if the superior court "considered improper  



factors  in  making  its  custody  determination,  failed  to  consider  statutorily  mandated  



                                                                                                                               7  

                                                                                               

factors, or assigned disproportionate weight to particular factors while ignoring others." 



This court will not overturn a trial court's discretionary ruling unless "the reasons for the  

                                                   

exercise of discretion are clearly untenable or unreasonable."8  



IV.       DISCUSSION  



                    In determining whether to limit foreign visitation, the trial court may look  

                                                                                                                   



to a number of factors, including whether proposed countries of visitation are Hague  

                                                                                                  



Convention signatories.  But this factor is not dispositive given the broad discretion  



                                                                          

accorded to trial courts in custody determinations.  Because the superior court considered  



                                                                              

the risks of and reasons for international visitation here and found that they posed no  



threat to the safety and return of the child, we find no abuse of discretion.  



          5(...continued)  



v. Dingeman , 865 P.2d 94, 96 (Alaska 1993)).  



          6         Sheffield   v.   Sheffield,   265   P.3d    332,   335   (Alaska   2011)   (quoting  



Josephine B. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs ., 174  

P.3d 217, 222 (Alaska 2007)).  



          7         Frackman v. Enzor , 327 P.3d 878, 882 (Alaska 2014) (quoting Siekawitch  



v. Siekawitch, 956 P.2d 447, 449 (Alaska 1998)).  



          8  

                                                                 

                    Burke v. Maka , 296 P.3d 976, 980 (Alaska 2013) (quoting  Lewis v. State ,  

469 P.2d 689, 695 (Alaska 1970)).  



                                                              -7-                                                        7013
  


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

                                                                    

          A.	       Trial Courts May Look To A Number Of Factors, None Of Which Are  

                                         

                    Dispositive,          In     Determining            Whether           To     Limit       International  

                    Visitation.  



                    Alaska  Statute  25.24.150(c)  requires  courts  to  "determine  custody  in  



accordance with the best interests of the child under AS 25.20.060-25.20.130."  The  



statute  sets  out  nine  enumerated  factors  for  trial  courts  to  consider  when  making  a  



                                                                                                                9  

                                                                                                                     Although  

discretionary  best  interest  determination  toward  apportioning  custody. 



                          

Brandy does not seek review of "an 'award' or 'determination' of custody as used in the  



             

Alaska Statutes, and therefore the explicit statutory best interests factors contained in  



          9         The factors that AS 25.24.150(c) requires courts to consider when making                    



a custody determination in the best interest of a child include:  



                    (1)  the  physical,  emotional,  mental,  religious,  and  social  

                    needs of the child;  



                    (2)   the   capability  and  desire   of each              parent to      meet  these  

                    needs;  



                    (3) the child's preference if the child is of sufficient age and  

                    capacity to form a preference;  



                    (4) the love and affection existing between the child and each  

                    parent;  



                    (5)  the  length  of  time  the  child  has  lived  in  a  stable,  

                    satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining  

                                                                        

                    continuity;  



                    (6) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and  

                                                                       

                    encourage a close and continuing relationship between the  

                                                                          

                    other parent and the child, . . . ;  



                    . . . .  



                    (9) other factors that the court considers pertinent.  



The statute also discusses evidence of domestic violence and substance abuse (factors  

(7) and (8), respectively), which were not a focus at trial here.  



                                                               -8-	                                                        7013
  


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

                                                       10  

AS  25.24.150(c)  do  not  apply,"                         we  have  recognized  that  the  superior  court  is  



                                                                                                     

"nonetheless required to account for [the child's] best interests" when considering issues  



                                                                                                       11  

regarding the permissibility of international travel and visitation.                                        



                     Brandy argues that the superior court abused its discretion by allowing  



unrestricted international visitation because the proposed country of travel, Micronesia,  



                                                                   12 

                                                                                                            

is not a signatory to the Hague Convention.                             A trial court abuses its discretion if, among  



                      

other things, it "consider[s] improper factors in making its custody determination" or  



                                                                                  13  

                                                                                        Alaska  law  does  not  explicitly  

"fail[s]  to  consider  statutorily  mandated  factors." 



prohibit child custody visitation in non-Hague Convention signatory nations or otherwise  



restrict  international  travel  as  part  of  custody  visitation,  and  there  are  no  specific  



statutorily mandated factors for a trial court to consider with regard to foreign visitation.  



           10        Patrawke v. Liebes , 285 P.3d 268, 271 (Alaska 2012) (citation omitted).  



           11        See id. at 271-72 (holding it was an abuse of discretion for the superior     



court to deny a father's request to secure a passport for his child without any contrary  

reason).  



           12  

                                                                                           

                     There are 93 Hague Convention signatory countries out of 195 countries  

worldwide.               Status        table,       HAGUE          CONFERENCE               ON      PRIVATE          INT 'L      LAW ,  

http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=24 (last visited May 22,  

2015).  AS 25.30.400 provides that "a court of this state may enforce an order for the  

                                                                             

return of a child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International  

Child Abduction as if the order were a child custody determination."  Many parents have  

                                                              

filed  suit  under  the  International  Child  Abduction  Remedies  Act,  the  U.S.  law  

implementing the Hague Convention, see  22 U.S.C.  9001 et seq. (2012), to have a  

child returned after the other parent took and kept a child outside his or her country of  

                                                                                     

habitual residence.   See, e.g., Abbot v. Abbot , 560 U.S. 1 (2010); Karpenko v. Leendertz ,  

                                                                                                                       

619 F.3d 259 (3d Cir. 2010);  Toren v. Toren, 191 F.3d 23 (1st Cir. 1999); Shalit v.  

                                                                                                          

Coppe, 182 F.3d 1124 (9th Cir. 1999); Friedrich v. Friedrich , 78 F.3d 1060 (6th Cir.  

1996); Courdin v. Courdin, 375 S.W.3d 657 (Ark. App. 2010).  



           13  

                                                                             

                     Frackman v. Enzor , 327 P.3d 878, 882 (Alaska 2014) (quoting Siekawitch  

v. Siekawitch, 956 P.2d 447, 449 (Alaska 1998)).  



                                                                   -9-                                                            7013
  


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

                                                                                                                        

                         Brandy does not cite any decision from this court or any other that has held  



that a country's Hague Convention signatory status provides a definitive ground for  



determining whether to allow international visitation in the best interest of the child.  



                                                                                                                     

Indeed, courts in other jurisdictions have declined to apply a bright-line rule to limit  



                                                  

foreign visitation based on the Hague Convention signatory status of a proposed country  



                 14  

of travel.            A bright-line rule restricting international visitation to Hague Convention  



                                                                                                                                    

signatory nations would "mistakenly change the focus from the parent to whether [the  



                                                                                                                                                             15  

                                  

proposed country of travel's] laws, policies, religion or values conflict with our own." 



                                                          

                         Other courts that have considered international visitation issues broadly,  



                                                                                     

and the Hague Convention specifically, have generally done so in light of the traveling  



                                                                                                                                                    

parent's risk of and assurances against non-return of the child, and the reason for the  



                                                                                                                                                             16  

                                                                

child's travel, such as family ties, heritage, cultural programming, or similar reasons. 



             14          See, e.g., In re Rix , 20 A.3d 326, 329 (N.H. 2011) ("[W]hile a foreign   



country's Hague Convention signatory status should be a significant factor for the trial   

court to consider, it cannot, standing alone, be determinative of whether it is in the best       

interests  of  a  child  to  travel  with   a  parent  outside  the  country.");  MacKinnon  v.  

MacKinnon , 922 A.2d 1252, 1260 (N.J. 2007) ("Although a foreign nation's Hague     

Convention status is a pertinent factor [in considering the international removal of a  

child], it is by no means dispositive."); Abouzahr v. Matera-Abouzahr , 824 A.2d 268,  

281 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003) (declining "to adopt a bright-line rule prohibiting  

out-of-country  visitation  by  a  parent  whose  country  has  not  adopted  the  Hague  

                                                                                                                                           

Convention"); Long v. Ardestani , 624 N.W.2d 405, 417 (Wis. App. 2001) (observing  

that no cases "even hint" at a rule that provides "as a matter of law that a parent . . . may  

not take a child to a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention if the other  

                                                                        

parent objects").  



             15         Abouzahr , 824 A.2d at 281-82.  



             16          See,  e.g.,  MacKinnon ,  922  A.2d  at  1259-60  (addressing  "concerns  



implicated by international removal, such as Hague Convention membership, cultural  

and social concerns, feasibility of visitation, and enforceability of parental rights").  



                                                                            -10-                                                                      7013
  


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

                                                                   

In Abouzahr v. Matera-Abouzahr , the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division,  



                                                                      

articulated a sensible standard for considering a country's Hague Convention signatory  



status in conjunction with other factors:  



                    The  danger  of  retention  of  a  child  in  a  country  where  

                    prospects of retrieving the child and extraditing the wrongful  

                    parent are difficult, if not impossible, is a major factor for a  

                    court to weigh in ruling upon an application to permit or to  

                                                                                 

                    restrain out-of-country visitation. But it is not the only factor.  

                                           

                    In addition to the laws, practices and policies of the foreign  

                                                       

                    nation,  a  court  may  consider,  among  other  things,  the  

                                                                      

                    domicile and roots of the parent seeking such visitation, the  

                                                                                       

                    reason for the visit, the safety and security of the child, the  

                                                                                      

                    age  and  attitude  of  the  child  to  the  visit,  the  relationship  

                    between the parents, the propriety and practicality of a bond  

                                                                         

                    or other security and the character and integrity of the parent  

                    seeking   out-of-country   visitation   as   gleaned   from   past  

                                                        [17] 

                    comments and conduct.  



                    Courts often examine the risk that a traveling parent might take a child  



                                                                          18  

                                                                                                    

outside the United States and not return the child.                           "[A] number of cases in American  



          17        824 A.2d 268, 282 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003).  



          18        See, e.g., Kamal v. Imroz, 759 N.W.2d 914, 919 (Neb. 2009) (holding that  



a trial court did not abuse its discretion in restricting a child's travel out of the country  

                                                                                                        

because father once took the child out of state without informing the mother); Rix, 20  

A.3d at 329-30 (holding that a trial court did not abuse its discretion by permitting a  

father to vacation with his child in India, a non-Hague Convention country, when the  

                                                                   

mother's evidence gave no indication the father intended to flee with the child and not  

                                                                                                               

return); Puran v. Murray , 829 N.Y.S.2d 227, 228 (N.Y. App. Div. 2007) (holding that  

                                                                                                      

a family court providently exercised discretion to permit a father to take his child to his  

                                                                                                             

home country of Guyana when the mother offered no proof that the father threatened to  

abscond with the child).   



                                                              -11-                                                         7013
  


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

jurisdictions recognize the propriety of [limiting] visitation when the noncustodial parent  



                                                          19  

is shown to pose a risk of abduction."                        



                                                                                                                        

                      Courts also examine whether there are available legal structures that may  



                                                             

provide assurances against non-return, such as general extradition treaties or having the  



                                  

traveling parent post a security bond.  Some courts have required a traveling parent to  



                                                     20  

                                                                                                                   

post a security bond prior to travel,                   but doing so is  discretionary based on the parents'  



                       21  

circumstances.             In Patrawke v. Liebes , we did not require a father to post a security  



                                                                                                   22  

                                                                                                       The mother "failed  

bond in order for him to obtain a passport to travel with his child.  



                                                                                       

to offer a compelling reason why it would not be in [the child's] best interests to obtain  

a passport."23  



           19       Lee v. Lee , 49 So.3d 211, 215 (Ala. Civ. App. 2010) (citing                            Shady v. Shady,  



858   N.E.2d  128,  143  (Ind.  App.  2006); Moon  v.  Moon , 589                                S.E.2d 76, 79-80            (Ga.  

2003)); see also Monette v. Hoff, 958 P.2d 434, 436 (Alaska 1998) (limiting visitation  

in  part  based  on  the  guardian  ad  litem's  testimony  that  "[the  mother's]  history  of  

                                                                                                                     

secreting away her daughter from [the daughter's father], as well as her conduct of not  

                                                                                              

telling [the father] exactly where the child was here in Alaska for a period of time does  

                                                                         

cause concern that she presents a risk of abduction of the child").  



          20         See,  e.g.,  Long  v.  Ardestani ,  624  N.W.2d  405,  411  (Wis.  App.  2001)  



(imposing a bond through a pre-existing custody agreement).  



          21  

                            

                     See Abouzahr , 824 A.2d at 282 (mentioning "the propriety and practicality  

     

of a bond or other security" as a factor "a court may consider, among other things" but  

                                                  

declining  to  impose  restraints  on  international  visitation  because  "[n]o  testimony  

indicates that [the father] disrespects the United States, its culture, customs, laws or  

values").  



          22         285 P.3d 268 (Alaska 2012).  



          23        Id. at 272.  



                                                               -12-                                                         7013
  


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

                     Extradition  treaties  can  also  provide  assurances  against  non-return.  



                                                                                                           

Micronesia, the proposed country of foreign visitation, does have an extradition treaty  



                                        24  

                                                        

with  the  United  States.                     That  extradition  treaty  could  be  used  to  enforce  the  



                                                                                         

International Parental Kidnaping Crime Act (IPKCA), which Congress passed in 1993  



to  supplement  the  Hague  Convention  when  its  civil  remedies  are  inapplicable  or  



                  25  

ineffective.           IPKCA makes it a federal offense for a parent to wrongfully remove a  



                                                                                                                             26  

                                                                                                                                 Thus,  

child from the United States, punishable by up to three years imprisonment. 



Brandy  would  not  be  without  recourse,  particularly  since  Jeremy  offered  to  sign  a  



                                         

document consenting to the application of the laws of the United States during out-of- 



                        27  

country travel.             



           24        Agreement on Extradition, Mutual Assistance in Law Enforcement Matters  



and Penal Sanctions Concluded Pursuant to Section 175 of The Amended Compact of  

Free Association, U.S.-Micr., tit. 2, art. 1, May 14, 2003, T.I.A.S. 04-625.4.  



           25        See  Pub. L. 103-173  2(a), 107 Stat. 1998 (codified as amended at 18     



U.S.C.  1204 (2012)); Abouzahr , 824 A.2d at 280 (discussing IPKCA).  



           26         18 U.S.C.  1204(a); see also United States v. Amer, 110 F.3d 873, 877-79  

                                                                                            

(2d Cir. 1997) (upholding IPKCA against a constitutional challenge).  



           27        Like a country's Hague Convention signatory status, whether a proposed  

                                                                                                            

country of travel has an extradition treaty with the United States is not dispositive in  

                                                            

deciding whether to limit foreign visitation.  See MacKinnon v. MacKinnon, 922 A.2d  

                                                                                                                             

1252, 1262 (N.J. 2007) (holding only that "trial courts must consider the question of the  

                                                             

enforceability of visitation and other court orders in the international removal context"  

                                                                                 

(emphasis added)); Abouzahr 824 A.2d at 281 (declining to adopt a "bright-line rule  

prohibiting out-of-country visitation by a parent whose country has not . . . executed an  

                                                                                                                   

extradition treaty with the United States").  The MacKinnon court sensibly held that "[i]n  

                                                                                                

future proceedings, when a parent raises concerns regarding enforceability, the trial court  

should pursue alternative solutions to such problems by, for example, encouraging the  

                                                                                                                  

parties  to  obtain  appropriate  orders  in  the  foreign  nations  or  enter  into  contractual  

                                                                  

agreements,  enforceable  overseas,  governing  visitation  arrangements."    922  A.2d  

                                                                                                                     (continued...)  



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

                      Abouzahr also advises courts to look to "the reason for the visit."28  Brandy  



                                                                                                    

asserts that "[c]ourts generally find that international travel to a non-signatory is [only]  



                                                                                            

in the child's best interest if there is a particular reason for this travel, for instance, when  



                                                                                                                                     

relatives live abroad, when one parent is from the foreign country, or when the travel is  



                                                                                                                              

sanctioned by a school language program in which the child is enrolled."  Although it  

                                                      29 articulate some positive reason for travel, they do not  

is true that the cases Brandy cites                                                  



imply  that  the  lack  of  any  particularized  justification  beyond  the  broadly  enriching  



benefits of travel should act as a negative restriction.  



                      The superior court did not specifically analyze the reasons for the child's  



                                                                                        30  

                                                                                            Brandy may not agree with the  

travel, save to say that travel is generally beneficial. 



broad  benefits  of  travel,  but  the  fact  that  the  superior  court  did  not  enumerate  any  

                                            



particularized  travel  justifications  does  not  mean  it  "failed  to  consider  statutorily  



           27(...continued)  



at 1260.  



           28          824 A.2d at 282.  



           29         See Patrawke v. Liebes, 285 P.3d 268, 270 (Alaska 2012) (allowing a father     



to obtain a passport for his child despite the mother's objection so the child could, among             

other things, attend a Japanese Immersion Program through her school); In re Rix, 20  

A.3d 326, 329 (N.H. 2011) (allowing visitation to India, a non-signatory country, to see  

                                                                                               

relatives);  Long  v.  Ardestani ,  624  N.W.2d  405,  416  (Wis.  App.  2001)  (allowing  

visitation to Iran, a non-signatory country, because, among other reasons, the father was  

from Iran).  



           30         The superior court noted at the end of trial that travel is broadening and  



                                                                                                                     

enriching and stated, "I don't care if it's a Hague Convention country or not. [Travel] is  

                                                                                                  

a good thing, in my mind.  There are exceptions to that, of course.  But in general terms,  

that's what I'm finding."  



                                                                     -14-                                                               7013
  


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

                            31  

                                                                       

mandated  factors"              or  otherwise  abused  its  discretion.    As  we  have  previously  

suggested, travel is generally beneficial and in a child's best interests.32  



          B.	       The Superior Court Did Not Abuse Its Discretion By Not Limiting  

                    International  Visitation  Because  It  Found  That  Jeremy  Posed  No  

                    Threat To The Child's Safety And Return.  



                                                                           

                    We have held that "[p]rovisions of a custody award must be supported by  



findings  of  fact  demonstrating  that  the  superior  court  properly  considered  the  best  



                                 33  

interests of the child."             "The trial court's factual findings enjoy particular deference  



when they are based 'primarily on oral testimony, because the trial court, not this court,  



                                                                                                            34  

judges  the  credibility  of  witnesses  and  weighs  conflicting  evidence.'  "                                  Here,  the  



                                                                                          

superior  court  stated  that  it  had    "seen  no  evidence"  and  "heard  no  testimony  that  



 [Jeremy] has [the] intention or desire" to "take [the child] and keep her and not return  



                                                                          

her."  Brandy presented no conflicting evidence to suggest that Jeremy poses a flight risk  



with the child; she merely asserted that he may wish to travel abroad for work or to see  



his Micronesian girlfriend.  But those possibilities do not indicate any intent on Jeremy's  



          31	       Frackman v. Enzor , 327 P.3d 878, 882 (Alaska 2014) (quoting                               Siekawitch  



v. Siekawitch, 956 P.2d 447, 449 (Alaska 1998)).  



          32        See  Patrawke,  285  P.3d  at  272  (suggesting  that  travel  is  beneficial  by  

                                                                                                        

holding that because a child "has significant opportunities to travel abroad, . . . to deny  

                                                                                                                

her a passport, without any contrary reason given by [the mother], assuredly would harm  

 [the child's] best interests").  



          33        Green v. Parks, 338 P.3d 312, 315 (Alaska 2014) (alteration in original)  



(quoting Mariscal v. Watkins , 914 P.2d 219, 222 (Alaska 1996)).  



          34        Sheffield   v.   Sheffield,   265   P.3d   332,   335   (Alaska   2011)   (quoting  



Josephine B. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs ., 174  

P.3d 217, 222 (Alaska 2007)); see also Hanlon v. Hanlon , 871 P.2d 229, 232 (Alaska  

                       

 1994) ("[A]ssessing witness credibility is a trial-court function, and the court in this case  

                                                                                                   

clearly acted within its discretion by crediting one version of events over another.").  



                                                             -15-	                                                      7013
  


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

part to take and keep the child abroad in contravention of the custody order and thus the  



                                                                                                               

superior court's factual findings are not clearly erroneous.   We do not "reweigh the  

evidence when the record provides clear support for the trial court's ruling."35  



                                                                                                         

                    We next turn to whether the superior court abused its discretion by not  



                                                 

limiting foreign visitation.  The abuse of discretion standard asks "whether the reasons  



                                                                                                   36 

                                                                                                       and fall outside the  

for the exercise of discretion are clearly untenable or unreasonable" 



boundaries of reasonable responses.  Here, the superior court acknowledged and weighed  



                                                                                         

the risks that Jeremy's foreign travel with the child might entail, and thus its visitation  



order is not facially unreasonable.   



                                                                               

                    In particular, Brandy's subjective fear that Jeremy might abscond with the  



                                                                                              

child is not, standing alone, enough to suggest that the superior court's order not limiting  



foreign visitation was unreasonable or otherwise an abuse of discretion.  Other courts  



                                                                                             

that have considered whether one parent's fear that the other poses a flight risk should  



                                                                                                                 

factor into a trial court's custody determination have concluded that such fears should  



                                                                  37  

                                                                                                      

not be credited unless they are well-founded.                          The Abouzahr court held that even if one  



                                                                                                            

parent's  fear  of  non-return  is  genuine,  "fear  alone  is  not  enough  to  deprive  a  non- 



                                                                                                       

custodial parent" of international visitation where "[n]o testimony indicates that [the  



          35        Graham R. v. Jane S., 334 P.3d 688, 696 (Alaska 2014) (quoting                                    Kelly v.  



Joseph , 46 P.3d 1014, 1019 (Alaska 2002)).  



          36        Burke v. Maka , 296 P.3d 976, 980 (Alaska 2013) (quoting Lewis v. State ,  

                                                                                      

469 P.2d 689, 695 (Alaska 1970)).  



          37        See, e.g., Keita v. Keita , 823 N.W.2d 726, 732 (N.D. 2012); MacKinnon v.  



MacKinnon , 922 A.2d 1252, 1256 (N.J. 2007); Abouzahr v. Matera-Abouzahr, 824 A.2d  

                                   

268, 281 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003).  



                                                              -16-                                                         7013
  


----------------------- Page 17-----------------------

                                                                                                            38  

                                   

parent] disrespects the United States, its culture, customs, laws or values."                                   In Keita v.  



                                                                                                               

Keita , the North Dakota Supreme Court held that a district court's finding that a father  



was a "flight risk" was clearly erroneous because the record did not "include specific  



                                                                                                         39  

                                                                                                             Similarly, in  

evidence that [the father] has an intent to abscond or flee with the child." 



MacKinnon v. MacKinnon , the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a trial court's removal  



order to Japan based in part on the trial court's finding that the mother's past conduct  



                                                                                                   

provided "no justifiable basis for a genuine fear that [she] will not return [the child] or  



                          40  

                                                              

refuse visitation."           "Observing that [the mother] obeyed all previous court orders, the  



                                                                                   

[trial] court considered the possibility that [the mother] would abscond with [the child]  



'an acceptable risk under the circumstances,' " which the New Jersey Supreme Court  

held did not constitute an abuse of discretion.41  



                    Here, Brandy attempts to substantiate her fear that Jeremy may abscond  



with the child by arguing that Jeremy "has no demonstrated incentive to return to the  



United  States"  because  he  has  no  job  or  strong  ties  here  and  that  he  "has  also  



demonstrated a disdain for legal rules," based on his Army infractions.  Though the  



Army found Jeremy guilty of having an inappropriate relationship in Micronesia with a  



                                                                                                   

woman who was not his wife, this prior bad act has little bearing on Jeremy's propensity  



          38       Abouzahr , 824 A.2d at 281, 282.  



          39        823 N.W.2d 726, 732 (N.D. 2012)  (noting that the trial court's factual  



finding was clearly erroneous because it "appear[ed] to be based on 'uncertainty' about  

                   

[the  father's]  immigration  status  and  extended  family,  in  addition  to  [the  mother's  

fears]").  



          40  

                                            

                    922 A.2d 1252, 1256, 1262  (N.J. 2007) (noting that although the trial court  

                            

found the father's fear to be "sincere," it ultimately concluded that his fear that he would  

lose his daughter was "unfounded").  



          41        Id. at 1256.  



                                                             -17-                                                       7013
  


----------------------- Page 18-----------------------

to disregard the law with regard to the child's custody.                       His relationship with a woman  



in Micronesia might provide an incentive for him to go there, perhaps long-term, but it     



does   not   suggest that Jeremy might want to abscond with the child and keep her in  



Micronesia permanently.  



                   Finally,  the  superior  court  did  not  abuse  its  discretion  by  "fail[ing]  to  

                                                      42 regarding foreign visitation because there is no  

consider statutorily mandated factors"                    



Alaska  law  that  addresses  international  visitation.    And  the  superior  court  did  not  

                         

"assign[] disproportionate weight to particular factors while ignoring others"43 because  



there are no past Alaska decisions to inform the weight that trial courts should give to  

"other factors the court considers pertinent"44  regarding whether foreign visitation is in  

                                                                                                                     



a child's best interest.  The superior court's on-the-record discussion with the parties at  



                       

the  end  of  the  trial  demonstrates  that  it  considered  the  key  factors  underlying  the  



                                                                                                

importance of the Hague Convention and other courts' reasoning as to whether to allow  



                                                                                                   

international visitation: the risks of and reasons for that travel.  Thus, the superior court  



                                                                                                         45  

did not "consider[] improper factors in making its custody determination."                                    



V.        CONCLUSION  



                   Because the superior court found that Jeremy's conduct raised no concerns  

                                                                        



about the safety and return of the child, a finding which is not clearly erroneous, we  



AFFIRM, and hold that the superior court did not abuse its discretion by not limiting  



international visitation to Hague Convention signatory nations.  



         42        Frackman v. Enzor , 327 P.3d 878, 882 (Alaska 2014) (quoting Siekawitch  



v. Siekawitch, 956 P.2d 447, 449 (Alaska 1998)).  



         43        Id. (quoting Siekawitch, 956 P.2d at 449).  



         44        AS 25.24.150(c)(9).  



         45        Frackman , 327 P.3d at 882 (quoting Siekawitch, 956 P.2d at 449).  



                                                          -18-                                                     7013
  

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