Burns v. BurnsAnnotate this Case
A mother appealed a final order modifying custody of her three children, arguing the modification was to punish her and was not based on the best interests of the children. She claimed the superior court clearly erred in finding that she misrepresented information to third parties, including her son’s medical providers. She additionally argued she was denied due process because the superior court did not give her expert the opportunity to defend his methodology once the court determined that his psychological evaluation was outside the scope of its expectations. And she asserted the superior court erred in assigning no weight to her expert’s evaluation in making its credibility determinations. After review, the Alaska Supreme Court did not find the modification was made to publish the mother. The Court found the superior court based its underlying findings on the children's best interests, and the court did not clearly err in finding mother misrepresented information ot third parties. The Supreme Court also concluded mother was provided a meaningful opportunity to be heard; it was within the superior court’s discretion to decide how much weight to assign the psychological evaluations in making its credibility determinations. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the superior court’s modification order.