Thursday, December 5, 2013

Betts v. Betts case brief

Betts v. Betts case brief summary
473 P.2d 403 (1970)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant appealed from a Superior Court for Thurston County (Washington) judgment that awarded plaintiff custody of the parties' minor child after the court modified a foreign divorce decree awarding defendant custody of the child.

CASE FACTS
Defendant appealed from a trial court's judgment that awarded plaintiff custody of the parties' minor child after modifying the parties' foreign divorce decree that had awarded custody to defendant.

DISCUSSION

  • The appellate court affirmed, holding that the trial court had jurisdiction to modify the foreign divorce decree regarding child custody because the trial court had jurisdiction over the child since the child was a ward of the state at the time of the custody proceedings and was therefore a state domiciliary. 
  • The court also held that statements the child made to her foster mother were not inadmissible hearsay because the statements were not admitted to prove the truth of the allegations but merely to indirectly and inferentially show the child's mental state. 
  • Further, the court held that the custody modification was proper, as there was substantial evidence of changed conditions to indicate that the modification would best serve the child's interests.

CONCLUSION
The appellate court affirmed and held that the trial court had jurisdiction to modify the parties' foreign divorce decree regarding child custody and that evidence of changed circumstances was sufficient to justify the trial court's determination that the parties' minor child's welfare would best be served by awarding plaintiff custody.


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