Solomon v. SolomonAnnotate this Case
In issuing a divorce decree between Terrace Solomon and Wendy Barnes (formerly Solomon), the issue of custody was reserved to be decided at a later trial. Before the custody trial could be held, Terrace was arrested and held in a United States Army prison outside Alaska. The superior court repeatedly continued the custody trial to allow Terrace’s counsel to get in contact with Terrace and arrange for his telephonic appearance at trial. But after about a year had passed, the court refused to further continue the matter. A short custody trial was held; Terrace was absent but represented by counsel. The court awarded sole legal custody and sole physical custody to Wendy. The court determined, among other things, that Terrace had a history of perpetrating domestic violence, triggering a presumption against awarding him custody. On appeal Terrace claimed the superior court abused its discretion when it refused to further continue the custody trial. Terrace also claimed the court erred in concluding he had a history of domestic violence: he contended the record was inadequate to support that conclusion and the court did not make the requisite findings to support it. The Alaska Supreme Court agreed the superior court’s domestic violence findings were insufficient and thus vacated the court’s determination concerning the domestic violence presumption. The Court otherwise affirmed the superior court’s judgment.