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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Veselsky v. Veselsky (06/03/2005) sp-5901

Veselsky v. Veselsky (06/03/2005) sp-5901

     Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction  before
     publication  in  the  Pacific  Reporter.   Readers  are
     requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk
     of  the  Appellate  Courts, 303  K  Street,  Anchorage,
     Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878,
     e-mail corrections@appellate.courts.state.ak.us.


            THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA


BERNARD VESELSKY,               )
                              		)    Supreme Court No. S-11560
             Appellant,            	)
                              		)    Superior Court No. 3KN-02-00761 CI
     v.                     		)    
                             		)
PATRICIA VESELSKY,            	)    O P I N I O N
                              		)
             Appellee.            	)    [No. 5901 - June 3, 2005]
                              		)




          Appeal  from the Superior Court of the  State
          of  Alaska,  Third Judicial District,  Kenai,
          Harold M. Brown, Judge.

          Appearances:  Carol A. Brenckle,  Kenai,  for
          Appellant.   Peter  F.  Mysing,  Kenai,   for
          Appellee.

          Before:   Bryner,  Chief  Justice,  Matthews,
          Eastaugh, Fabe, and Carpeneti, Justices.

          FABE, Justice.


I.   INTRODUCTION

          Bernard  Veselsky  appeals the trial  courts  order  of

custody and distribution of marital property in his divorce case.

He  challenges  the  superior courts decision to  allow  Patricia

Veselsky to retain primary physical custody of their children  if

she  completes her planned move to Minnesota.  He also challenges

the  trial  courts classification of Patricias  student  loan  as

marital property and the courts unequal division of property  and

assignment of travel and uncovered medical expenses.  Because  we

conclude that the superior court did not abuse its discretion, we

affirm.

II.  FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

          Bernard and Patricia Veselsky were married in 1996  and

have  three children: a girl born in 1997 and twin boys  born  in

2000.  The parties separated in July 2002, and Bernard filed  for

divorce  in  September  2002.  Bernard  sought  shared   physical

custody of the children; Patricia sought sole physical custody of

the  children  and requested that she be allowed to  relocate  to

Minnesota with the children to pursue her education.

          Bernard is a salesman with National Oilwell and earns a

gross  yearly  income of approximately $51,000 and a  net  yearly

income  of approximately $38,500.  At the time of trial, Patricia

earned  $50 per hour as a part-time consultant for Hope Community

Resources for a net annualized income of approximately $13,000.

          Prior  to trial, Bernard moved to have Dr. Paul  Turner

conduct  comparative  psychological  evaluations  and  a   family

assessment.  Both parties participated in the evaluations.  Trial

was  held before Standing Master David S. Landry in October 2003.

Master  Landry  heard testimony from Bernard, Patricia,  and  Dr.

Turner, among others. Both parties filed written trial briefs and

closing  arguments.  Patricia requested primary physical  custody

to  take  the children to Duluth, Minnesota and to live  at  home

with  her  parents while she pursues a masters degree  in  social

work  from the University of Minnesota Duluth.  Bernard contended

that  the  parties should share custody if Patricia  remained  in

Alaska and that he should be awarded primary physical custody  if

Patricia moved to Minnesota.

          On  May 13, 2004, Master Landry issued his report.   He

recommended that Patricia be granted primary physical custody  of

the children and proposed a 55%/45% division of property favoring

Patricia.  He also recommended that the parties share the cost of

visitation equally, and that Bernard pay seventy-five percent  of

uncovered  medical  expenses while Patricia is actively  pursuing

her  degree.  Bernard filed objections to the masters  report  on

June 1, 2004, and Patricia filed a response on June 8, 2004.   On

June  10, 2004, Judge Harold M. Brown approved the masters report

with modifications, one of which was to require that Bernard  pay

seventy-five  percent of visitation expenses  while  Patricia  is

residing  in  Minnesota and pursuing her graduate degree  on  not

less than an eighty percent of full-time basis.  On July 7, 2004,

Judge Brown entered a decree of divorce and findings of fact  and

conclusions  of law adopting the modified masters  report  as  an

order of the court.  Bernard appeals.

III. DISCUSSION

     A.   Standard of Review

          The  trial court has broad discretion in child  custody

decisions.1  We set aside a trial courts determination of custody

only  if  the  entire  record demonstrates that  the  controlling

findings  of  fact are clearly erroneous or that the trial  court

abused  its  discretion. 2  We will find an abuse  of  discretion

where  the trial court considered improper factors in making  its

custody  determination, failed to consider  statutorily  mandated

factors,  or  assigned  a disproportionate weight  to  particular

factors while ignoring others.3

          The  trial court also exercises broad discretion in the

division  of marital assets.4  The determination of what property

is  marital  is reviewed for an abuse of discretion although  the

classification  of some items may present a question  of  law  to

which   we   apply  our  independent  judgment.5   The  equitable

allocation of property is reviewable under an abuse of discretion

standard and will not be reversed unless it is clearly unjust. 6

     B.   The  Trial  Court  Did  Not  Err  in  Granting  Primary
          Physical Custody of the Children to Patricia Should She
          Move to Minnesota.
          
          Bernard  challenges  the superior  courts  decision  to

allow Patricia to retain primary physical custody of the children

if  she  completes her planned move to Minnesota.  We  have  held

that  a  court making a custody determination in cases where  one

parent chooses to move away from Alaska must do so by determining

          what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the

child[ren]   under  the  criteria  stated  in  AS   25.24.150(c),

including  determining whether there are legitimate  reasons  for

the  move.7  The trial court must assume that the move will  take

place8  and  then  consider the following  statutory  factors  to

determine  the custody arrangement that serves the best interests

of the children:

               (1)   the  physical, emotional,  mental,
          religious, and social needs of the child;
          
               (2)   the capability and desire of  each
          parent to meet these needs;
          
               (3)   the childs preference if the child
          is  of sufficient age and capacity to form  a
          preference;
          
               (4)   the  love  and affection  existing
          between the child and each parent;
          
               (5)   the  length of time the child  has
          lived  in  a stable, satisfactory environment
          and    the    desirability   of   maintaining
          continuity;
          
               (6)  the willingness and ability of each
          parent  to facilitate and encourage  a  close
          and continuing relationship between the other
          parent and the child . . . ;
          
               (7)   any evidence of domestic violence,
          child abuse, or child neglect in the proposed
          custodial household or a history of  violence
          between the parents;
          
               (8)   evidence that substance  abuse  by
          either   parent  or  other  members  of   the
          household  directly affects the emotional  or
          physical well-being of the child;
          
               (9)    other  factors  that  the   court
          considers pertinent.[9]
          
Bernard  challenges the superior courts findings with respect  to

factors  (1), (2), (5), (6), (7), and (8).  Bernard  also  argues

that  the  superior court failed to consider the  impact  of  the

proposed move on the children and that the court erred in finding

that Patricias reasons for moving were legitimate.

          1.   Patricias proposed move to Minnesota

          Bernard argues that the superior court erred in finding

that  Patricias  reasons for moving to Minnesota were  legitimate

and  that the court failed to consider the effect of the move  on

the children.10

          We  have held that a proposed move is legitimate if  it

was not primarily motivated by a desire to make visitation . .  .

more difficult.11  The superior court found that Patricias reasons

for  the move were legitimate ones related to the nature  of  the

graduate  program  at  the  University  of  Minnesota   and   the

availability  of  family support while she  returned  to  school.

This finding is supported in the record.  Patricia testified that

she is particularly interested in Native American issues and that

the  University  of  Minnesota has one of the  only  social  work

programs  in  the country whose core curriculum includes  courses

focusing  on  this  subject.  By contrast, the  director  of  the

School  of  Social  Work at the University  of  Alaska  Anchorage

testified  that  her  program does not have  a  concentration  in

American Indian groups and does not offer many courses related to

Alaska Native studies.  Patricia also testified that if she moved

to Minnesota her extended family would help care for the children

when  she is in class and that she would be able to live  at  her

parents  house without paying rent, thereby freeing her from  the

necessity of getting a job and permitting her to spend more  time

with  the  children.  We have previously accepted the  intent  to

attend  graduate school out of state and the desire to be  closer

to extended family as legitimate reasons for a move.12

           Bernard contends that Patricias desire to move despite

his  offer  to  provide  financial assistance  for  day  care  if

Patricia were to pursue her degree at the University of Anchorage

indicates  that the move is intended to frustrate his  visitation

with  the  children.   But  this argument  ignores  the  academic

advantages  of the Minnesota program and the legitimate  benefits

of  having  extended  family nearby.  Bernard  also  argues  that

Patricias statements that she would not move to Minnesota  if  it

          meant giving up custody of the children suggests illegitimate

motives  for  the  move.  But it is perfectly  reasonable  for  a

devoted  parent to condition his or her move plans on maintaining

custody   of   the   children;  we  explicitly  recognized   this

possibility in Moeller-Prokosch I.13  The superior court did  not

clearly  err  in  finding that Patricias reasons  for  moving  to

Minnesota are legitimate.

          Bernard  also argues that the superior court failed  to

consider  the  impact of the proposed move on the  children.   He

appears  to argue that the court should have concluded  that  the

proposed  move  was not in the best interests  of  the  children,

pointing to Dr. Turners testimony that it would be preferable for

the children to have regular and consistent involvement with both

parents.   But  under  our reasoning in Moeller-Prokosch  I,  the

proper  inquiry  is not whether the move itself is  in  the  best

interests  of  the children, but what custody arrangement  is  in

their  best  interests assuming the move will take place.14   The

superior  court properly assumed that the move would  take  place

and  considered whether the children would be better  off  moving

with  Patricia  to Minnesota or staying in Alaska  with  Bernard.

The  court recognized that the move will certainly have an impact

on  the  childrens relationship with the Father, but  determined,

based  in  part  on Dr. Turners expert testimony,  that  granting

primary custody to Patricia was in the childrens best interests.

          Bernard  points out that the superior courts  statement

that he has strong family ties to the Duluth area because he  has

family  within one hundred miles is incorrect.15  This  error  is

harmless.  In making its custody determination, the court did not

assume that Bernard would move to Minnesota; the court determined

that Patricia should have custody despite the negative effects of

separating  the  children  from  their  father.   It  is   highly

improbable that the superior court would have assessed the impact

of the move differently but for this factual error.

          2.   The  capability and desire of each parent to  meet
               the childrens needs
               
          The  superior court found that both parents are capable

of meeting the physical, emotional, mental, religious, and social

needs  of children, but that the Mother is slightly more  capable

than  the Father in meeting these needs.  Bernard challenges this

finding.

          The  evidence  at  trial supports the  superior  courts

finding.   Dr.  Turners evaluation indicated that  although  both

Patricia  and Bernard are good parents, Patricia has better  than

average  parenting  abilities while Bernard has  low  average  to

average  capability to care for and parent his  children.16   Dr.

Turner  testified  that  Patricia is  better  able  to  meet  the

childrens  needs than Bernard.  In particular, Dr.  Turner  noted

that  Bernard  did  not seem to appreciate that  the  twins  have

special needs related to their speech deficits.  By contrast, Dr.

Turner  found  that  Patricia had a  good  understanding  of  the

childrens   needs   and   that  her   experience   working   with

developmentally  challenged  people  was  a  clear  strength   in

addressing  those needs.  Dr. Turner also expressed concern  that

Bernard  might  at times put his own needs before  those  of  the

children.

          Bernard  argues  that he is better  able  to  meet  the

childrens  needs  because he is more active  in  their  religious

education.   His  principal complaint  is  that  Patricia  rarely

permits  him to take the children to church on the weekends  when

she  has custody. But testimony indicated that Patricia has taken

their  daughter  to  catechism class when she  has  custody,  has

enrolled  the  children in a religious education  program,  prays

with  them  at  home,  and attends church occasionally.   In  any

event, under AS 25.24.150(c)(1), no single factor is dispositive;

the  trial court is to consider the physical, emotional,  mental,

religious, and social needs of the child[ren].  In light  of  the

expert  testimony  that  Patricia is  better  able  to  meet  the

childrens  needs, the superior court was entitled  to  find  that

this  factor favored the mother despite testimony that the father

          may  play a more active role in the childrens religious

development.

          Bernard  also  contends that Patricia has an  obsessive

and controlling personality and that her behavior will negatively

impact  the  children emotionally and mentally.  But  Dr.  Turner

testified that he disagreed with Bernards assessment of  Patricia

as  a  controlling  individual and did not see  any  evidence  of

controlling  behavior  in  her  interaction  with  the  children.

Nothing   in   Bernards  testimony  about  Patricias  personality

suggests that the superior courts finding is clearly erroneous.

          Finally, Bernard argues that he is better able to  meet

the  childrens needs because Patricias insistence on  caring  for

the  children  while Bernard was working during  Bernards  summer

visitation period harmed the children.  During Bernards period of

summer  visitation, Patricia regularly picked up and dropped  off

the  children several times in the course of the day.  Dr. Turner

did testify that these frequent transitions had a negative effect

on  the  children, causing what he called transition regressions.

But  Dr. Turner also testified that he believed that Patricia had

only  the best of intentions, that she was not trying to sabotage

the  childrens relationship with Bernard, and that  if  a  mental

health   professional  had  provided  a  recommended   visitation

schedule  she  would  have followed it.  Most  importantly,  even

considering Patricias behavior during Bernards summer  visitation

period,  Dr.  Turner concluded that Patricia was better  able  to

meet the childrens needs. The superior court did not clearly  err

in finding that this factor slightly favored Patricia.

          3.   Stability and continuity

          In  considering  the length of time the  children  have

lived  in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability

of  maintaining continuity under AS 25.24.150(c)(5), the superior

court  concluded that this factor favored the mother because  the

children  had  resided with her since the  separation.   But  the

court  gave  limited weight to this factor because  the  ultimate

environment  for  the children may be dramatically  different  in

Minnesota.   Bernard  argues that the  court  should  have  given

greater  weight  to the importance of maintaining  continuity  in

Bernards regular visitation with the children.

          We have recognized that [s]tability is often a function

of  parental  attitude  and  not of geography.17   Courts  should

consider  social  and emotional factors such as who  the  primary

care-giver  was  for the child18 and may properly  award  primary

custody to the relocating parent when that parent offers superior

emotional  stability.19 Dr. Turner testified  that  Patricia  has

served  as the primary caregiver and therefore that the  children

would  experience a greater negative impact if they  remained  in

Alaska  with their father rather than accompanying  their  mother

to  Minnesota.  Moreover, Dr. Turner noted that the children  had

visited  Duluth  several  times before and  had  extended  family

there,  while they had few family members in Alaska and were  too

young to have established social ties in Alaska.  The evidence in

the  record  supports the trial courts conclusion regarding  this

factor.

          4.   The  willingness  and ability of  each  parent  to
               encourage  a  close relationship  with  the  other
               parent
               
          In  considering  the willingness and  ability  of  each

parent  to  encourage a close relationship with the other  parent

under AS 25.24.150(c)(6), the superior court concluded that  this

factor slightly favors the mother.  The court noted that there is

some  continuing animosity between the parties,  and  found  that

while  Patricia  appears  better suited  to  put  aside  her  own

emotions   and  put  the  children  first,  Bernards  anger   and

unresolved marriage issues may make it more difficult for him  to

do so.  Bernard disputes this finding.

          Bernard  points to Dr Turners statements in his  report

that Patricia is apprehensive about [Bernards] participation with

the  children and that she was not responsive to questions  about

supporting a relationship between the children and their  father.

          But Dr. Turner testified that overall . . . [Patricia] does

support  the  importance  of  [Bernard]  being  involved  in  the

childrens lives.  Dr. Turner also testified that Bernards  anger,

mistrust, and unresolved issues related to the marriage interfere

with  his ability to support a relationship between Patricia  and

the children, and concluded that Patricia has a little bit better

capability  to  support a relationship between the  children  and

their  father.  Although there is some contrary evidence  in  the

record,  there is substantial evidence in the record  to  support

the  superior  courts finding that Patricia  is  more  able  than

Bernard  to  foster a relationship between the children  and  the

other parent.

          5.   Evidence of domestic violence

          With respect to this factor, the superior court stated:

          There  have  been  documented  instances   of
          domestic  violence between the parents.   The
          biggest  concern are those instances reported
          by the Father to his counselor, that involved
          a  variety of physical assaults committed  by
          him  against  the Mother.  This  factor  does
          favor   the  Mother.   However,  the  Fathers
          involvement   in  individual  counseling   to
          address  some  of  his  anger  issues  is   a
          positive.   It therefore reduces  the  weight
          the court will afford to this factor[.]
          
          Bernard  contends that the court should not have  found

that   this  factor  favors  Patricia  because  Patricia  herself

allegedly  engaged in domestic violence.  Bernard testified  that

Patricia  threw  small  objects at him such  as  small  toys  and

magazines, and twice hit him with more dangerous objects (a hard-

cover  book and a cutting board).  By contrast, Bernard testified

at  trial  that he slapped and hit [Patricia] on top of the  head

and  his  counselor testified that he had admitted to  physically

abusing  Patricia on multiple occasions.  The superior court  was

entitled  to  find  that  this factor  favored  Patricia  because

Bernards  assaults were the biggest concern with regard  to  this

factor.

          6.   Evidence of substance abuse that directly  affects
               the emotional or physical well-being of the child
               
          The superior court found that substance abuse was not a

factor  affecting  the  children in  either  household.   Bernard

contests  this finding, arguing that Patricia abuses alcohol  and

drugs.  Dr. Turner testified that although both parents have used

alcohol and marijuana in the past, he believed that it is not  an

issue  affecting  the well-being of the children.   The  superior

courts finding is therefore supported by evidence in the record.

          We  conclude that the trial court did not  err  in  its

custody determination.

     C.   Property Division

          1.   The trial court did not err in including Patricias
               student loan debt as marital property.
               
            Bernard argues that the superior court erred when  it

included Patricias student loan as a marital debt in the division

of property.  We have held that there is a presumption that debts

incurred  during  the  marriage are to  be  treated  as  marital:

Absent  any  showing  that the parties  intended  a  debt  to  be

separate,  the  trial  court must presume that  a  debt  incurred

during  the  marriage  is  marital and should  consider  it  when

dividing the marital estate.20  Bernard concedes that the loan was

obtained  during the marriage.  Because Bernard  cites  no  trial

evidence  showing  that  the parties  intended  the  debt  to  be

separate,  the  student  loan  was  properly  considered  marital

property.

          2.   The trial court did not err in awarding Patricia a
               larger share of the marital property.
               
          The   superior  court  ordered  a  property  award   of

$36,876.40  to  Patricia and $30,171.60 to  Bernard,  a   55%/45%

division    of   marital   assets.    Thus,   Patricia   received

approximately  $3,352  more than a fifty  percent  share  of  the

marital   property.    The  court  stated   that   this   unequal

distribution  reflected  the income  disparity  that  will  exist

between the parties while Patricia is unemployed and pursuing her

masters  degree.  In making this determination,  the  court  also

noted  that Patricias future prospects, based upon her completing

          all degree requirements, remain[] relatively high.

          Bernard contends that the court should have divided the

property equally. At the time of the trial, Patricia worked part-

time  as  a  social worker for $50 per hour; her  annualized  net

income  was  about $13,000.  But there was also evidence  in  the

record  that  Patricia had the qualifications for  a  job  paying

approximately  $52,000 annually, roughly  the  same  as  Bernards

current  gross  income of approximately $51,000.  Bernard  argues

that Patricias earning capacity is actually greater than his, and

that  he should not have to finance Patricias decision to  return

to  school.  Patricia responds that the unequal distribution  was

correct  because her actual income in the year of the  trial  was

significantly less than Bernards and because her income potential

will be much lower than Bernards while she is in school.

          Although  an equal division of property is presumed  to

be  the  most equitable, the trial court has broad discretion  to

deviate from absolute equality.21  Alaska Statute 25.24.160(a)(4)

lists  factors to be considered by the trial court in  fashioning

a  property  division.  These factors include, among others,  the

earning capacity of the parties, the financial condition  of  the

parties,  and the circumstances and necessities of each  party.22

We conclude that it was not clearly unjust for the trial court to

award  Patricia  approximately $3,352 more than a  fifty  percent

share of the marital property based on Patricias circumstances as

an  unemployed  graduate student despite  her  full-time  earning

capacity.23

     D.   Travel and Medical Expenses

          Bernard argues that the court erred when it ordered him

to  be  responsible  for seventy-five percent  of  the  costs  of

visitation  and  the childrens uncovered medical  expenses  while

Patricia  is actively pursuing her masters degree.  Alaska  Civil

Rule  90.3(d)(2) provides that the court shall allocate uncovered

health  care  expenses equally unless the court orders  otherwise

for  good cause.  The fact that Patricias financial resources are

          limited while she is enrolled as a student constitutes good cause

for  ordering  Bernard to pay a greater share of these  expenses.

Rule  90.3(g)  provides that the court shall allocate  reasonable

travel  expenses  which  are  necessary  to  exercise  visitation

between  the  parties  as  may be just and  proper  for  them  to

contribute.  Given that Patricias resources will be limited while

she  is  in  school and the costs associated with visitation  are

likely  to  be substantial, it was just and proper  to  assign  a

greater share of the costs to Bernard.24

IV.  CONCLUSION

          The  superior  courts order regarding custody  and  the

division of property is hereby AFFIRMED.

_______________________________
     1    Jenkins v. Handel, 10 P.3d 586, 589 (Alaska 2000).

     2    Moeller-Prokosch v. Prokosch (Moeller-Prokosch III), 99
P.3d  531,  534 (Alaska 2004) (quoting Hamilton v.  Hamilton,  42
P.3d 1107, 1111 (Alaska 2002)).

     3    Hamilton, 42 P.3d at 1111.

     4    Cox v. Cox, 882 P.2d 909, 913 (Alaska 1994).

     5    Id.

     6     Id. (quoting Doyle v. Doyle, 815 P.2d 366, 368 (Alaska
1991)).

     7     Moeller-Prokosch v. Prokosch (Moeller-Prokosch I),  27
P.3d 314, 316 (Alaska 2001).

     8    See id. at 316-17.

     9    AS 25.24.150(c).

     10    Because the superior court adopted the modified masters
report  as  an order of the court, we refer to these findings  as
those of the superior court.

     11    Moeller-Prokosch I, 27 P.3d at 316 (internal quotations
omitted).

     12     See House v. House, 779 P.2d 1204, 1208 (Alaska 1989)
(move  to  permit  new  spouse  to  attend  graduate  program  in
psychology  legitimate reason for move); Vachon v. Pugliese,  931
P.2d 371, 379 (Alaska 1996) (desire to be near extended family is
sufficient reason to justify relocation).

     13    Moeller-Prokosch I, 27 P.3d at 316.

     14     Id. at 316-317; see also Moeller-Prokosch v. Prokosch
(Moeller-Prokosch II), 53 P.3d 152, 156 (Alaska 2002).

     15     Bernard testified that his company has an  office  in
Mount  Pleasant,  Michigan, which is about  140  miles  from  his
family.  In his objections to the masters report, Bernard  stated
that  both  Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and his birthplace  of  Flint,
Michigan are over 500 miles from Duluth.

     16    Bernard contends that Dr. Turner is biased against him.
We have held that the trial court, not this court, is in the best
position  to  judge  witnesses  credibility  and  evaluate  their
testimony.  See Evans v. Evans, 869 P.2d 478, 481 (Alaska 1994).

     17     McQuade  v. McQuade, 901 P.2d 421, 426 (Alaska  1995)
(quoting  Craig  v.  McBride, 639 P.2d  303,  308  (Alaska  1982)
(Rabinowitz, C.J., concurring)).

     18    Rooney v. Rooney, 914 P.2d 212, 217 (Alaska 1996).

     19    Meier v. Cloud, 34 P.3d 1274, 1279 (Alaska 2001).

     20    Coffland v. Coffland, 4 P.3d 317, 321-22 (Alaska 2000).
Student  loans  can be treated as marital property.   See,  e.g.,
McDougall v. Lumpkin, 11 P.3d 990, 994 (Alaska 2000).

     21    Ulsher v. Ulsher, 867 P.2d 819, 822 (Alaska 1994).

     22    See AS 25.24.160(a)(4).

     23     Bernard  relies on a line of cases in which  we  have
refused to modify a child support obligation because of the  non-
custodial parents voluntary and unreasonable underemployment.  In
Olmstead  v.  Ziegler, for example, we affirmed the trial  courts
refusal  to  modify child support where the non-custodial  parent
stopped  practicing  law  and returned  to  school  to  become  a
teacher.  42 P.3d 1102, 1105-06 (Alaska 2002).  But even  if  the
voluntary   underemployment  doctrine  applies  in  the  property
division  context, this doctrine actually undermines rather  than
supports  Bernards  position.  We noted  in  Olmstead   that  the
commentary to Civil Rule 90.3 provides that [w]hen a parent makes
a career change, [the trial courts ] consideration should include
the extent to which the children will ultimately benefit from the
change.  Id. at 1106; Alaska Civil Rule 90.3 cmt. pt. III.C.   We
upheld  the trial courts refusal to modify child support  because
Olmstead  has failed to prove any benefit to the child  from  his
decision to downsize his practice and change careers . . . .  Id.
Unlike  the  facts  in Olmstead, Patricias graduate  degree  will
ultimately  benefit  the children because it  will  increase  her
marketability and future prospects, and therefore  would  not  be
classified as voluntary underemployment under this line of cases.

     24     Because  Bernard does not discuss in his  briefs  his
grounds  for  challenging the terms of the visitation  order,  we
deem this issue waived.  See Adamson v. Univ. of Alaska, 819 P.2d
886, 889 n.3 (Alaska 1991) (point given only cursory statement in
the argument portion of brief is deemed waived).