APPEAL FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT
NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAII REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER
SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER
(By: Foley, Presiding J., Fujise and Reifurth, JJ.)
Petitioner-Appellant C C (Mother) appeals from two postjudgment orders entered by the Family Court of the First Circuit *fn1 (family court) in consolidated cases resolving custody and child support issues. Mother seeks review of the family court decision entered in favor of Respondent-Appellee W G (Father) denying Mother's request for back child support for the time periods not covered by prior proceedings and appeals from the November 22, 2010 "Order Denying Motion For Relief Related To Child Support Filed by [Father] on March 20, 2010 and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part [Mother's] Motion for Relief After Judgment Or Order Filed May 6, 2010" (2010 Trial Order) and the February 2, 2011 "Order Denying Motion for Reconsideration Filed December 2, 2010."
On appeal, Mother contends:
(1) 2010 Trial Order statement #5 erroneously finds the family court adjudicated paternity at a hearing held July 23, 2009 (2009 Hearing);
(2) 2010 Trial Order statement #7 finds Father's child support obligations commenced after the 2009 Hearing adjudication of paternity;
(3) though phrased as a factual finding, 2010 Trial Order statement #9 is an erroneous conclusion of law that mistakenly attributes the award of child support on the determination of "sole physical custody"; and
(4) 2010 Trial Order statement #9 erroneously finds father voluntarily contributed to the financial support of the children though the record provides no support for such a finding.*fn2
Upon careful review of the record and the briefs submitted by the parties and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised by the parties, as well as the relevant statutory and case law, we conclude Mother's appeal is without merit.
The family court's FOFs are reviewed on appeal under the "clearly erroneous" standard. A FOF is clearly erroneous when (1) the record lacks substantial evidence to support the finding, or (2) despite substantial evidence in support of the finding, the appellate court is nonetheless left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. "Substantial evidence" is credible evidence which is of sufficient quality and probative value to enable a person of reasonable caution to support a conclusion.
On the other hand, the family court's COLs are reviewed on appeal de novo, under the right/wrong standard. COLs, consequently, are "not binding upon an appellate court and are freely reviewable for their correctness."
Moreover, the family court is given much leeway in its examination of the reports concerning a child's care, custody, and welfare, and its conclusions in this regard, if supported by the record and not clearly erroneous, must stand on appeal.
Fisher v. Fisher, 111 Hawaii 41, 46, 137 P.3d 355, 360 (2006) (quoting In re Doe, 95 Hawaii 183, 190, 20 P.3d 616, 623 (2001) (internal citations, internal quotation ...