Submitted: February 9, 2018
Below-Family Court of the State of Delaware File No.
CK14-01534 Petition No. 14-14230
STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and TRAYNOR, Justices.
Strine, Jr. Chief Justice.
consideration of the parties' briefs and the record
below,  it appears to the Court that:
this appeal from a child custody order and the denial of a
motion to relocate, the appellant, Kathleen Gillis
("Mother"), argues that the Family Court's
factual findings are not supported by the record because the
Family Court dismissed the testimony of the educational
expert and ignored evidence of Thomas Hughes'
("Father") past abusive behavior. Mother also
argues that the Family Court erred in its application of the
best interest factors under the Model Relocation
review of an appeal from a custody decision extends to both
the facts and the law, as well as to the inferences and
deductions made by the Family Court after considering the
weight and credibility of the testimony. To the extent the
Family Court's decision implicates rulings of law, our
review is de novo.Findings of fact will not be disturbed
unless they are found to be clearly erroneous and justice
requires that they be overturned. The judgment below will be
affirmed "when the inferences and deductions upon which
[the decision] is based are supported by the record and are
the product of an orderly and logical deductive
Custody matters are inherently difficult cases, and this case
is particularly complicated because one of the parties'
two young sons is autistic. It is clear from the testimony
that, despite their difficulties in dealing with each other
at times, both parties love their children and are involved
in their lives. Although the educational expert's
testimony in this case provides some support for Mother's
contention that her move to Florida would provide their
special needs son with access to expanded services and
specialized in-school learning support that he is not
receiving in the Delaware public school system, this
testimony was one piece of information among many that the
Family Court was required to take into account in determining
the best interests of both children.
Contrary to Mother's contentions, the Family Court
considered all of the relevant evidence in this case,
including the testimony of Mother's educational expert
and the evidence of the consent PFA entered against Father in
2014. The Family Court weighed all of the relevant evidence
bearing on the best interest factors under 13 Del.
C. § 722,  as it was required to do, and also
considered the best interest factors under the Model
Relocation Act, which it was permitted to do in its
After careful consideration of the parties' respective
positions on appeal and after a thorough review of the
record, the Court has determined that this appeal should be
affirmed on the basis of the Family Court's well-reasoned
decision dated August 31, 2017. It is clear that the trial
judge considered the evidence under the appropriate legal
standards and reasoned in a logical way in determining that
shared residential placement was in the best interests of
both children and in denying Mother's motion to relocate.
We recognize that this is a close case, and that Mother
presents issues affecting in critical ways the lives of all
concerned. Regrettably, this is a sad case, like many our
Family Court must decide, in which there is no easy or
obviously correct outcome. Our duty on appeal is to defer to
a difficult decision made by our trial courts when it is
supported by the record and the law, as it is here.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the judgment of the Family
Court is AFFIRMED.
 The Court previously assigned
pseudonyms to the parties under Supreme Court Rule