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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Worland v. Worland (09/26/2008) sp-6313

Worland v. Worland (09/26/2008) sp-6313, 193 P3d 735

     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


CHARLES B. WORLAND, )
) Supreme Court No. S- 12746
Appellant, )
) Superior Court No. 3AN-05-05282 CI
v. )
) O P I N I O N
JACQUELINE K. WORLAND, )
) No. 6313 September 26, 2008
Appellee. )
)

          Appeal  from the Superior Court of the  State
          of    Alaska,   Third   Judicial    District,
          Anchorage, Craig F. Stowers, Judge.

          Appearances:  Herbert A. Viergutz, Law Office
          of   Herbert  A.  Viergutz,  Anchorage,   for
          Appellant.  Timothy P. Peters, Law Office  of
          Timothy   P.  Peters,  LLC,  Anchorage,   for
          Appellee.

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

          FABE, Chief Justice.

I.   INTRODUCTION
          Charles Worland appeals the superior courts enforcement
of  his  property  settlement agreement  with  his  former  wife,
Jacqueline  Worland.  Charles argues that the parties  settlement
conference  failed to generate an accord and that  therefore  the
superior  court  should have granted his request  to  proceed  to
trial.   Charles  also  challenges the superior  courts  property
distribution  and  its  decision  to  award  attorneys  fees   to
Jacqueline.    Because   the  parties  reached   an   enforceable
settlement  agreement  on the division  of  their  property,  and
because  Charles  unreasonably protracted the  implementation  of
that  agreement,  we affirm the superior courts  rulings  in  all
respects.
II.  FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
          Jacqueline  and Charles Worland, both Alaska residents,
married on March 20, 1982 in Herman, Minnesota.  They have  three
adult children.  The Worlands separated on February 17, 2005, the
same  day  that  Jacqueline filed her complaint for  divorce.   A
month  later,  Charles  wrote an e-mail to  Jacqueline  from  the
Persian Gulf state of Qatar, where he was working as a government
contractor.  The e-mail assured Jacqueline that Charles would try
to  make every effort to make this process as smooth as possible,
and proposed to split assets and liabilities up 50/50.
          On   February  24,  2006,  the  Worlands   attended   a
settlement conference with Superior Court Judge Craig F. Stowers.
The  conference began on the record.  The parties then negotiated
off   the   record  for  several  hours  before  reconvening   to
memorialize the agreement that they had reached.
          Charles  had  traveled from Qatar  for  the  settlement
conference  and at the outset he complained that he had  not  had
the  opportunity to look over the house and the property  inside.
Charles  voiced  his  suspicion that Jacqueline  had  made  hefty
withdrawals from the joint account maintained by the couple.  And
he disagreed with Jacqueline regarding the ownership rights to  a
1991 Ford Explorer.
          After negotiating off the record for several hours, the
Worlands reached an agreement, which the superior court placed on
the record.  According to that agreement, the Worlands agreed  to
find  a mutually acceptable appraiser for the house.  They agreed
that  Charles would assume the mortgage and that Jacqueline would
receive  sixty percent of the value of the equity in  the  house.
The Worlands agreed to split their four retirement accounts 50-50
by  QDRO.1   Charles consented to [forgo] any claim to  repayment
for  checks  written by Ms. Worland since the date of separation,
as  well as payments that he paid on the house up until the  time
of  the  settlement conference.  Jacqueline, in turn,  agreed  to
forgo  spousal  support and to make mortgage payments  until  she
would  leave the house on May 31, 2006.  Finally, Charles  agreed
to  pay  $2,000 of Jacquelines attorneys fees.  At the conclusion
of the conference, the superior court told the Worlands:
          Now,  I want everyone to understand  and  the
          attorneys   are  going  to  ask   you   these
          questions   but once you agree that  this  is
          your agreement, and you are going to have  to
          acknowledge that youve given this careful and
          deliberate thought, and youve had a chance to
          talk  to your attorneys and get their counsel
          and  ask  them whatever questions  you  have.
          But  once  you agree that this is your  deal,
          this  is your deal today, and its your  final
          deal.   One or the other of the lawyers  will
          agree to prepare the findings and conclusions
          that will memorialize the terms.  But in  the
          event  that  there  may be some  disagreement
          later  about  what it is that theyve  written
          down,  in terms of the written document  that
          memorializes  the  terms   the   terms   that
          actually control will be what we put  on  the
          record today.
          
Both Worlands then gave sworn testimony.  Charless endorsement of
the agreement appears unequivocal:
          COUNSEL:       Okay.   And  youve  heard  the
                         agreement   that   the   judge
                         restated.    Is   that    your
                         complete agreement?
                         
          CHARLES:       Yes.
                         
          COUNSEL:       As   far   as   settling   all
                         outstanding  issues  in   this
                         divorce case?
                         
          CHARLES:       Yes.
                         
          COUNSEL:       And  is  there  anything  else
                         that  wasnt included  in  that
                         agreement?
                         
          CHARLES:       No.
                         
          COUNSEL:       Okay.   Has anyone forced  you
                         into    coming    into    this
                         agreement?
                         
          CHARLES:       No.
                         
          COUNSEL:       Made any threats?  Any promises?
                         
          CHARLES:       No.
                         
          COUNSEL:       Are you under the influence of
                         anything  that  would   impair
                         your   ability  to  make  this
                         decision?
                         
          CHARLES:       No.
                         
          COUNSEL:       Do  you  think this is a  fair
                         and equitable division of your
                         assets and debts?
                         
          CHARLES:       Yes.
                         
          COUNSEL:       And is this something that you
                         are  voluntarily entering into
                         at this time?
                         
          CHARLES:       Yes.
                         
Jacqueline similarly testified that the agreement was a fair  and
equitable division of their marital property.
          After the settlement conference, Charles paid $2,000 of
Jacquelines  attorneys fees.  As they had agreed  to  do  on  the
record,  Charles filed proposed findings of fact and  conclusions
of  law,  accompanied by a property division  chart.   Jacqueline
filed  draft QDROs for the four pensions at issue in the divorce.
Weeks  after  placing the settlement on the record, Charles  took
issue with the proposed QDRO of his military pension, and on  May
22, 2006, he filed his own proposed version.  Jacqueline objected
to  the  new proposed QDROs saddling her with the entire cost  of
creating  a  survivorship benefit.  The Worlands also  failed  to
agree on who should conduct an appraisal of the marital home, and
they eventually obtained two separate appraisals that differed by
approximately $13,000.  On July 11, 2006, Jacqueline moved for  a
hearing to resolve these disputes, and the superior court granted
the motion.
          On  November  7,  2006,  the Worlands,  both  with  new
attorneys, appeared again in superior court before Judge Stowers.
On  December  27,  2006, with the aid of his new lawyer,  Charles
filed  a Notice of Misrepresentation by Opposing Counsel, arguing
that Mr. Worland asserted and continues to assert that there  was
no  settlement  and the [superior court] should not  execute  the
[f]indings,  but  should  order a [t]rial.   The  superior  court
disagreed, however, and on March 10, 2007, it issued a decree  of
divorce and its amended findings of fact and conclusions of  law.
In  its findings, the superior court determined that the Worlands
should use the average value between the two appraisals that they
had  commissioned.  The superior court also determined  that  the
Worlands should equally share the cost of creating a survivorship
benefit  for  the pensions.  Finally, the superior court  divided
the  Worlands  credit  card  debt  between  them,  following  the
assignment  of that debt outlined in the property division  table
previously submitted by Charles.
          On May 10, 2007, the superior court issued a Qualifying
Military  Order to divide Charless military pension, as  well  as
QDROs to equally divide the Worlands other pensions, and an order
that  Charles refinance the marital home and pay Ms. Worland  60%
of  her  equity within 45[]days of this order.  On May 21 Charles
filed  a  motion  for reconsideration.  Among  other  claims,  he
asserted  that  the  superior court had wrongfully  included  his
Teamster pension in its distribution.  On May 31 Jacqueline filed
a   response   in   which   she  opposed  Charless   motion   for
reconsideration and moved for attorneys fees.  On June  4,  2007,
Charles  opposed any award of attorneys fees on the  ground  that
Jacquelines motion for fees was untimely.
          The   superior   court  denied  Charless   motion   for
reconsideration and ordered additional briefing on the  attorneys
fees issue.  After receiving additional briefing from both sides,
the  court  granted  Jacquelines motion  for  attorneys  fees  on
December   2.     The  court  found  that  Charles   unreasonably
protracted  and  added  to the litigation following  the  parties
settlement,  because  [a]mong other things, Charles  unilaterally
retained  an appraiser, unreasonably opposed plaintiffs  proposed
QDROs,  and  persists  in his argument that  there  was  not  [a]
settlement, even though the record could not be any clearer  that
both  parties entered into a knowing, voluntary settlement.   The
superior court awarded Jacqueline $14,790.20, the entirety of her
reasonably and necessarily incurred attorneys fees to enforce the
parties agreement.2
          Charles appeals.
III.      STANDARD OF REVIEW
          When reviewing a divorce proceeding, we will reverse an
allocation decision only if the trial court abuses its discretion
in  allocating  the property, and then only if the allocation  is
clearly unjust.3  We review a lower courts decision to enforce  a
settlement agreement under the abuse of discretion standard.4  We
review  a  trial  courts award of attorneys  fees  in  a  divorce
proceeding  under that standard as well,5 meaning  that  we  will
uphold the superior courts decision unless the record as a  whole
leaves  us  with  a definite and firm conviction that  the  trial
court committed a mistake.6
IV.  DISCUSSION
     A.   The  Superior  Court Did Not Abuse  Its  Discretion  in
          Enforcing the Worlands Settlement Agreement.
          
          According  to  Charles, the agreement he  reached  with
Jacqueline  at the settlement conference omitted material  terms.
He also alleges that both parties sought to nullify the agreement
and  proceed  to  trial.  Jacqueline defends  the  agreement  and
points  out  that  she only sought trial in the  event  that  the
superior court rejected her challenges to the home appraisal  and
the  division of Charless military pension.  The record  supports
this latter version of events.
          Charles recites a list of purportedly overlooked  items
of  property  as  evidence of the Worlands  failure  to  reach  a
settlement.   He  leads this list with the claim that  Jacqueline
extracted funds from the couples joint accounts.  But as  Charles
points out in his brief, he made known to the superior court  his
allegations  that  Jacqueline  had  improperly  drained   marital
assets.7   And  after the parties negotiated off the  record  for
over  four hours, Charles agreed under oath to [forgo] any  claim
to  repayment for checks written by Ms. Worland since the date of
separation,  and  likewise  .  . . any  claim  to  repayment  for
mortgage  payments that he paid on the house  from  the  date  of
separation  through  February 2006, the time of  the  settlement.
Charles  fails  to  explain  how  this  term  of  the  settlement
agreement does not bar his claim here.
          The  other  items on Charless list of neglected  issues
follow  the  same  pattern.  For example,  he  alleges  that  the
parties  had no agreement on a tax credit relating to the  equity
distribution.   According  to  the  record,  however,  Jacqueline
agreed  to  continue  paying the mortgage for  three  months  and
therefore planned to take a commensurate interest deduction  from
her  taxable income the following year.8  Charles testified  that
this  arrangement,  along with the rest of the settlement  terms,
represented  a  fair  and  equitable  division  of  the   marital
property.   Charless  arguments invoking the Ford  Explorer,  the
couples  joint bank account, and his personal property  similarly
fail upon inspection of the record.  And Charless allegation that
Ms.  Worland failed to pay even one cent on the mortgage  despite
          agreement to do so identifies a potential failure to comply with
the terms of the settlement but exposes no flaw in the settlement
itself.
          Charles  also alleges that the parties failed to  reach
an  agreement  on  the  home  valuation  and  that  this  failure
necessitates  trial.   He  argues that  there  is  absolutely  no
evidence  whatsoever  that Mr. Worland accepted  the  $261,500.00
value  for  the home.9  But the record demonstrates that  Charles
did  agree  to  accept  the valuation of  a  mutually  acceptable
appraiser.   The  Worlands never succeeded in  choosing  such  an
appraiser.   Instead, Charles contracted with one appraiser,  and
Jacqueline contracted with a second appraiser, chosen from a list
that   Charles  had  previously  provided  after  the  settlement
conference.  Given the Worlands inability to agree upon a  single
appraiser, basing the marital homes value on the average  of  the
two  separate  appraisals  reasonably  effectuated  the  Worlands
intent, avoiding the cost and delay of trial.
          Charles  argues that a trial was necessary to determine
who  should bear the costs of establishing a survivorship benefit
from Charless military pension.  But the record of the settlement
conference  makes  clear  that all  of  the  Worlands  retirement
accounts  were to be split 50-50 by QDRO, and that [t]he military
QDRO  shall include, calculated in[,] the survivor benefit  cost.
Charles  also  cites  disputes surrounding  various  credit  card
accounts,  a  cash balance in Ms. Worlands extra credit  account,
and  a $5,000 debt to the Internal Revenue Service.  But the  tax
debt of $4,154 arose after the settlement conference; the parties
did  not  receive  notice  of the debt until  October  10,  2006,
several months after the settlement conference, and according  to
Jacqueline, [t]he division of this post-settlement  debt  .  .  .
remains  to  be resolved by agreement of the parties  or  by  the
trial  court.   With  respect to the Worlands credit  card  debt,
Charless  pre-trial  property  division  spreadsheets   and   his
proposed   findings  of  facts  submitted  after  the  settlement
conference  indicated that he would assume the credit card  debts
he  now  disputes.  Charles appears to concede this point in  his
reply brief, admitting that both parties spreadsheets at the time
of  the settlement conference evidence that Mr. Worland would pay
the [disputed] credit card debt.
          Finally,  Charles  argues  that  he  succumbed  to  the
pressure  from  his counsel and the [superior court]  to  proceed
with  the  settlement discussions despite his  repeated  requests
that  they be terminated, in light of his flying in excess of  20
hours  to  reach  the settlement discussions.  As  a  result,  he
alleges  that  the  settlement was achieved  under  coercion  and
duress.  Charles relies on Gravel v. Alaskan Village, Inc.10  for
the  proposition  that  we should set aside  the  settlement  and
remand  the  case  for  trial.   But Gravel  directly  undermines
Charless  claim.   In that case, we concluded that  [t]he  record
simply  does  not  support  appellants  contention  that  he  was
deprived  of his free will and induced to settle the  case  under
coercion  and  duress.11  As in Gravel, the record in  this  case
fails  to  support  Charless contention of coercion  and  duress.
Charless  testimony on record leaves little doubt that  he  fully
          engaged in settlement discussions with the assistance of counsel
and  accepted  the terms on which the two sides agreed.   Indeed,
his  counsel  specifically asked Charles, Has anyone  forced  you
into  coming into this agreement?  And Charles testified that  no
such coercion had taken place.
          Our  case law has repeatedly affirmed the strong public
policy  in  favor  of the settlement of disputes.12   Settlements
simplify,  shorten  and  settle  litigation  without  taking   up
valuable  court resources.13  As contracts, settlement agreements
must  be  entered into voluntarily and knowingly; they cannot  be
the product of coercion, duress, or misrepresentation.14  But the
length   of   the  Worlands  settlement  negotiations,   Charless
assistance  by  counsel, and the fact that Charles  affirmatively
participated   in  clarifying  and  defining   several   of   the
settlements terms,15 belie any claim that Charles did  not  enter
into the agreement voluntarily and of his own free will.
     B.   The  Superior Court Divided the Marital Property  in  a
          Fair and Equitable Manner.
          
          As  support  for  his argument that the superior  court
failed  to  distribute  the  marital  property  in  an  equitable
fashion,  Charles  recites  the same allegations  listed  in  his
argument  that  the parties failed to reach a settlement.   These
allegations fail to advance Charless claims of inequity  for  the
same  reasons  that  they  fail  to  advance  his  claim  that  a
settlement was not reached.  In his reply brief, Charles declines
to  address Jacquelines contention that the disparity between the
former  spouses  earning capacities might have justified  a  more
favorable  division for her.  According to Jacqueline, she  earns
$37,500  as  a bus driver in Anchorage, while Charles has  earned
over $100,000 annually as a contractor in the Middle East.
          Charles  argues  that  the superior  court  effectively
reversed  itself absent [a h]earing and required Mr.  Worland  in
[the]  final  division of property to make the  mortgage  payment
despite its earlier [o]rder requiring Ms. Worland to do so.   But
Charles  fails  to specify which mortgage payments  the  superior
court  wrongfully  obliged him to pay.  The agreement  on  record
assigns  responsibility to Jacqueline for the March,  April,  and
May mortgage payments of 2006.  The superior courts order did not
alter  this  term, and thus Charless claim for  any  relief  from
mortgage payments apart from those three months must fail.  In  a
similar  vein, Charles argues that the superior court abused  its
discretion  by failing to take into account whether  credits  and
offsets  should  be given for post-separation mortgage  payments,
and  by  declining  to impute the rental value  of  Ms.  Worlands
exclusive  use  of  the  marital residence  after  separation  in
dividing  the  marital estate.  But the superior  court  did  not
abuse its discretion; it simply enforced the terms of the parties
mutually agreed upon settlement.  Indeed, none of the cases cited
by  Charles  in  support  of  his  argument  involved  settlement
discussions.16
     C.   The  Superior  Court Did Not Abuse  Its  Discretion  in
          Awarding Attorneys Fees to Jacqueline.
          
          Charles  argues  that  the  superior  courts  award  of
          attorneys fees to Jacqueline was an abuse of discretion because
Jacqueline  failed to timely file her motion for  attorneys  fees
and  because  the  underlying award  was  unreasonable.   Charles
points out that Jacqueline filed her motion for attorneys fees on
May 31, 2007, twenty-one days after the superior court issued its
order  of  May 10, 2007, which required Charles to refinance  the
marital  home and pay Jacqueline sixty percent of her  equity  in
the   property.   Charles  reasons  that  Alaska  Rule  of  Civil
Procedure  82(c)s requirement that a litigant file for  attorneys
fees   within  10  days  after  the  date  shown  in  the  clerks
certificate of distribution on the judgment bars the trial courts
award of attorneys fees.
          Charles is correct that Civil Rule 82(c) requires  that
a  motion  for attorneys fees must be filed within  ten  days  of
distribution of the judgment.  And our rules direct a litigant to
file  a  motion  for  enlargement of time  before  an  applicable
deadline expires.  Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1) gives a
trial  court discretion to enlarge the time period for  filing  a
motion  if request therefor is made before the expiration of  the
period  originally prescribed or as extended by a previous order.
But  even  if the litigant fails to file a request for  extension
before   the  deadline  expires,  a  trial  court  retains   some
discretion  to grant the request for extension.  Alaska  Rule  of
Civil  Procedure  6(b)(2)  gives the trial  court  discretion  to
extend most deadlines17 upon motion made after the expiration  of
the  specified period [for filing]. . . where the failure to  act
was the result of excusable neglect.
          Thus,  ordinarily,  a party seeking an  enlargement  of
time  under  Civil Rule 6(b) must file the request for  extension
before  the  initial filing deadline.  But where a  party  misses
that  deadline, the party must file a request to allow  the  late
filing,  setting forth an explanation of why the untimely  filing
resulted  from  excusable neglect.18  Here, Jacqueline  filed  no
motion at all: she simply moved for attorneys fees after the ten-
day deadline, failing even to acknowledge the untimeliness of her
request. The trial court should have required Jacqueline to  file
a  motion  for extension that demonstrated excusable  neglect  or
other  good cause for failing to act in a timely manner in filing
her  motion for attorneys fees.  This procedural error,  however,
was  harmless.   There  was  good  cause  for  a  post-expiration
enlargement  of  time  for filing because  a  timely  motion  for
reconsideration was pending when the late-filed  fee  motion  was
filed.   And the additional briefing on the attorneys  fee  issue
ordered by the superior court allowed Charles to inform the court
of  any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of the motions
untimeliness.19   We have repeatedly held that the  authority  to
enlarge the time allowable for an act pursuant to Rule 6(b) is  a
function  addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court.20
The  record  does  not suggest that the trial court  abused  that
discretion here.
          Put  simply, nothing in our case law interpreting  Rule
82(c) or Rule 6(b) supports adopting the rigid interpretation  of
the  rule that Charles advocates.  Our rules give the trial court
discretion  to  accept  a late-filed motion.   Charles  fails  to
          allege any prejudice suffered as a result of the late filing or
to demonstrate that the superior court abused its discretion.  We
therefore  conclude  that the superior  court  acted  within  its
authority in granting Jacquelines motion for attorneys fees.
          Turning  to  the  substance  of  the  superior   courts
attorneys  fees  award, Charles argues that the  superior  courts
determination  as to attorneys fees was manifestly  unreasonable.
The  superior  court  couched its award in  no  uncertain  terms,
reasoning  that Charless post-settlement litigation  conduct  was
unreasonable, vexatious, . . . done in bad faith .  .  .  unfair,
and  without  basis  in fact, law, or equity.  Charles,  however,
disputes the trial courts finding that he engaged in bad faith or
vexatious  litigation as that standard is defined by our  holding
in Kowalski v. Kowalski.21
          In  Kowalski,  we reversed an award of  full  attorneys
fees  because  the trial court failed to adequately  justify  its
award.22   Specifically, the trial court in  Kowalski  based  the
award solely on its finding that the party  consumed a great deal
more time than necessary [on the witness stand] by attempting  to
avoid  and evade answers to even the questions posed by  his  own
attorney. 23  We explained that in making an increased fee award,
the   court  must  first  determine  what  fee  award  would   be
appropriate  under the general rule, and only then  increase  the
award to account for a partys misconduct.24  We also directed the
lower  court to make explicit findings of bad faith or  vexatious
conduct  and clearly explain its reasons for deviating  from  the
general rule.25
          The superior courts analysis in this case complies with
the  strictures  of  Kowalski.  The trial court  found  that  the
general  rule  would  operate  to  award  Jacqueline  twenty-five
percent  of  her post-settlement litigation fees.  It based  this
finding  on  Charless agreement at settlement to  pay  $2,000  of
Jacquelines attorneys fees, which the trial court took to signify
an  implicit,  if  not  explicit, recognition  that  the  parties
economic  circumstances were not equal.  But Charless  litigation
tactics and his efforts to set aside the settlement agreement led
the  superior  court  to  charge him with  full  reasonable  fees
arising out of the post-settlement pleadings:
               The   court   agrees   with   plaintiffs
          arguments  that  defendant  has  unreasonably
          protracted   and  added  to  the   litigation
          following  the  parties  settlement.    Among
          other things, defendant unilaterally retained
          an appraiser instead of jointly selecting one
          as    the    parties    agreed.     Defendant
          unreasonably   opposed  plaintiffs   proposed
          QDROs  and  the  issue of survivor  benefits.
          Defendant persists in his argument that there
          was  not  settlement, even though the  record
          could  not  be any clearer that both  parties
          entered into a knowing, voluntary settlement.
          . . .
          
               .  .  .  If  the  court was  correct  in
               enforcing the settlement (which it believes
          it  was),  then  all  of the  post-settlement
          litigation    caused    by    defendant    is
          unreasonable    and    is    calculated    to
          delay/impede/undo/thwart     the      parties
          settlement  agreement and  plaintiffs  rights
          thereunder.
          
Accordingly,  the  superior  court  awarded  Jacqueline  fees  of
$14,790.20, which it found were reasonably incurred by  plaintiff
in  attempting  to  enforce  and  receive  the  benefits  of  her
settlement agreement with the defendant.
          We  agree with the superior courts characterization  of
Charless litigation conduct.  In his motions below and, indeed in
this  appeal,  Charles has launched a series  of  unsubstantiated
allegations and legally baseless claims.  His arguments regarding
the  issues identified by the superior court  including appraisal
of  the  marital home, the cost of the survivor benefits for  the
military  pension, and the validity of the settlement proceedings
bolster  the  superior courts judgment that Charles  unreasonably
protracted  this litigation.  Accordingly, we conclude  that  the
superior  court acted within its discretion in awarding attorneys
fees to Jacqueline.
V.   CONCLUSION
          For  the reasons detailed above, we AFFIRM the judgment
of the superior court.
_______________________________
     1    QDROs, or Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, direct a
retirement  plan administrator to distribute the  benefits  of  a
retirement plan according to the percentages agreed upon  by  the
parties  and approved by a court.  See generally Gale S.  Finley,
Assigning Retirement Benefits in Divorce 1-12 (2d ed. 1999).

     2    See Alaska R. Civ. P. 82(b)(3).

     3    Jones v. Jones, 835 P.2d 1173, 1175 (Alaska 1992).

     4    Mullins v. Oates, 179 P.3d 930, 935 (Alaska 2008).

     5    Johnson v. Johnson, 564 P.2d 71, 76-77 (Alaska 1977).

     6    Hopper v. Hopper, 171 P.3d 124, 128 (Alaska 2007).

     7     While  the  parties were still on record  before  they
engaged  in  their  off- record negotiations,  Charless  attorney
explained his concern:

          COUNSEL:       Because  what were  saying  is
                         that  separate funds were used
                         to pay off the debt.  Separate
                         funds from Mr. Worland, as  he
                         was  depositing money  in  the
                         joint bank account after  date
                         of  separation.   Those  funds
                         were  used  to pay  that  debt
                         down.   And  he takes  .  .  .
                         issue with a lot of stuff that
                         was  done with that money that
                         he   was  depositing  in   the
                         account. . . .  So I think  he
                         has a problem with not getting
                         any  credit  for some  of  the
                         money that he was working hard
                         to make, being used to pay off
                         a debt.
                         
          COURT:               Okay.   And I understand
                         that  this is going  to  be  a
                         point of big contention here.
                         
          COUNSEL:       Sure.
                         
          COURT:              And I think that probably
                         the best way to deal with that
                         is   to  do  that  separately,
                         because   I  can  see   things
                         getting bogged down . . . .
                         
          COUNSEL:       Sure.
                         
Later, after several hours of negotiations, Charles agreed on the
record to forgo these claims.

     8     Jacquelines lawyer was careful to put this arrangement
on the record:

          COURT:              Anything else, Ms. Foley?
                         
          COUNSEL:       Yes.  My client is supposed to
                         be  able to stay in the  house
                         until May 31st.
                         
          COURT:              Yes, I said that, I think.
                         
          COUNSEL:             And,  um, she  would  be
                         responsible  for the  mortgage
                         and utilities for March, April
                         and May.
                         
          COURT:              Yes.  March, April and May.
                         
          COUNSEL:            Which means she should be
                         able  to  take  that  interest
                         deduction the next year.
                         
          COURT:              Yes, she can.
                         
Charles raised no objection to this arrangement.

     9     Charless  property division table  nevertheless  cites
$261,500  as  the  value for the home.  Charles also  erroneously
attributes  the  2006 mortgage interest deduction to  Jacqueline.
As  their  agreement  makes  clear,  however,  she  can  claim  a
deduction  for only the three months that she paid the  mortgage.
Jacquelines appendix corrects this oversight.

     10    423 P.2d 273 (Alaska 1967).

     11    Id. at 277.

     12     Mullins  v.  Oates, 179 P.3d 930, 937  (Alaska  2008)
(quoting Municipality of Anchorage v. Schneider, 685 P.2d 94,  98
(Alaska  1984));  see also Murphy v. Murphy, 812  P.2d  960,  965
(Alaska 1991).

     13    Interior Credit Bureau, Inc. v. Bussing, 559 P.2d 104,
106 (Alaska 1977).

     14    Mullins, 179 P.3d at 937.

     15    Id.; see also Ford v. Ford, 68 P.3d 1258, 1264 (Alaska
2003) (noting that it was proper to conclude that party was bound
by  settlement  because that party actively participated  in  the
settlement  discussions);  Pavek v. Curran,754  P.2d  1125,  1127
(Alaska  1988) (noting that it was proper to conclude that  party
was bound by settlement agreement when that party was present  at
settlement hearing, made no objection to terms of agreement,  and
did  not  in  any  way  indicate  that  she  did  not  understand
settlement).

     16    Specifically Charles cites Korn v. Korn, 46 P.3d 1021,
1022 (Alaska 2002) (remanding because interim spousal support and
imputed rental value are not actually marital property and  trial
court  did  not  explain why it counted them as marital  property
after  it held a trial on disputed property questions and  issued
its final decision dividing the couples marital property); Ramsey
v.  Ramsey,  834  P.2d  807, 808 (Alaska 1992)  (rejecting  trial
courts  finding that parties functioned as single  economic  unit
after separation); and Ogard v. Ogard, 808 P.2d 815 (Alaska 1991)
(no settlement involved).

     17     Under  the rule, a court may not extend the time  for
taking  any action under Rules 50(b), 52(b), 59(b), and  (e)  and
(f),  and  60(b), except to the extent and under  the  conditions
stated in them.  Alaska R. Civ. P. 6(b)(2).

     18    See, e.g., Estate of Lampert Through Thurston v. Estate
of Lampert Through Stauffer, 896 P.2d 214, 218 (Alaska 1995).

     19     When affirming a lower courts decision to enlarge the
period  for  filing,  we  have cited the  appellants  failure  to
explain  how  the  extension might prejudice him  or  to  discuss
prejudice  on appeal. Kaiser v. Sakata, 40 P.3d 800, 806  (Alaska
2002).  But we have also held that appellants must show more than
a mere lack of prejudice to justify reversal of a superior courts
decision  to  deny  an extension in the context  of  Rule  60(b).
Dickerson v. Goodman, 161 P.3d 1205, 1207 (Alaska 2007).

     20     Estate of Lampert, 896 P.2d at 218 (quoting State  v.
1.163 Acres, More or Less, 449 P.2d 776, 779 (Alaska 1968)).

     21    806 P.2d 1368, 1373 (Alaska 1991).

     22    Id. at 1372-73.

     23    Id.

     24    Id. at 1373.

     25    Id.

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