Government of Virgin Islands ex rel. Simanca v. Proctor – Case Brief Summary (Virgin Islands)

In Government of Virgin Islands ex rel. Simanca v. Proctor, 39 V.I. 28, 1998 WL 453666 (D.V.I. 1998), a Virgin Islands territorial court had issued a child support order requiring the father, a resident of the islands, to pay support to the mother, a New York resident.

The father subsequently moved to Tennessee. The mother continued to reside in New York, and sought modification of the order in the Virgin Islands.

The mother asserted, as Father does in the instant case, that the territorial court had continuing exclusive jurisdiction regardless of where the parties lived, because they had not filed the written consents required by subsection (2)

The court rejected that argument as a misinterpretation of the statute, and noted:

"Once a support order is issued in the Virgin Islands, Section 400 provides that the Territory must continue to assert exclusive jurisdiction over a child support order as long as one of the interested parties remains a resident of the Virgin Islands. Citation omitted. Subparagraph (a)(2) of this section is merely added so as to allow the parties a means to circumvent this mandatory jurisdictional law. Without subparagraph (a)(2), as long as one of the individuals of interest resided in the jurisdiction which issued the last support order, the parties would have no choice but to subject themselves to this tribunal, regardless of the unified wishes of all involved to allow a more convenient forum to determine the matter." (39 V.I. at 35, 1998 WL 453666 at 5)