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Hoy v. Hoy

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii

June 12, 2013

DAN Y.W. AU HOY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TIFFINIE RACHELLE AU HOY, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAI I REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

APPEAL FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT (FC-D NO. 09-1-1062)

Tiffinie Walters fka Tiffinie Au Hoy Defendant-Appellant Pro Se.

Paul A. Tomar Lynne Jenkins McGivern Jill M. Hasegawa (Ashford & Wriston) for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Foley, Presiding Judge, Leonard and Ginoza, JJ.

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

Defendant-Appellant Tiffinie Rachelle Au Hoy, aka Tiffinie Rachelle Walters, pro se (Mother), appeals from the "Decree Granting Absolute Divorce and Awarding Child Custody" (Divorce Decree) entered on February 4, 2010 in the Family Court of the First Circuit[1] (family court). The Divorce Decree (1) dissolved the marriage between Mother and Plaintiff-Appellee Dan Yen Wha Au Hoy (Father), (2) awarded sole physical and legal custody of minor son (Son) to Father, (3) awarded monthly child support of $410 to Father, (4) awarded no spousal support, and (5) divided and distributed Mother and Father's property and debts.

On appeal, Mother appears to raise the following points of error[2]:

(1) The family court abused its discretion in awarding sole physical and legal custody to Father based on evidence provided by Prathiba Eastwood, PhD. (Dr. Eastwood); Custody Evaluator Thomas Haia (CE); and John Wingert, PhD. (Dr. Wingert).
(2) The family court abused its discretion in awarding monthly child support to Father. (3) The family court abused its discretion when it denied Mother's demand for discovery.
(4) The family court abused its discretion in ordering Mother to reimburse Father $10, 000 of the $20, 000 she withdrew from the parties' joint bank account.
(5) The family court abused its discretion when it denied Mother's November 3, 2009 oral motion to continue the trial.

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 resolve Mother's points of error as follows:

(1) The family court did not abuse its discretion in awarding sole physical and legal custody to Father based on evidence provided by Dr. Eastwood, the CE, and Dr. Wingert. In the first paragraph of Mother's opening brief, she "challenges the overtly biased CE report"; "the testimony offered by [Dr. Eastwood], who spoke beyond her area of expertise and training"; and the "[p]sychological [e]valuation offered by [Dr. Wingert], who bases his recommendations on a mood disorder that was never diagnosed."

Father offered the CE report and Dr. Wingert's psychological evaluations of Mother and Father into evidence as Exhibit No. 29 on November 9, 2009. The family court received the report and evaluations with no objection by Mother. "The general rule is that an issue which was not raised in the lower court will not be considered on appeal. An appellate court will deviate from this rule only when justice so requires." Hong v. Kong, 5 Haw.App. 174, 177, 683 ...


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