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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Hunter v. Conwell (11/13/2009) sp-6432

Hunter v. Conwell (11/13/2009) sp-6432, 219 P3d 191

     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

BOBBIE ANN HUNTER, )
) Supreme Court No. S- 13336
Appellant,)
) Superior Court No. 2KB-06- 85 CI
v. )
) O P I N I O N
SHAUN T. CONWELL, )
) No. 6432 - November 13, 2009
Appellee.)
)
          Appeal  from the Superior Court of the  State
          of    Alaska,   Second   Judicial   District,
          Kotzebue, Richard H. Erlich, Judge.

          Appearances:  Bobbie  A.  Hunter,   pro   se,
          Fairbanks,   Appellant.    Margaret    OToole
          Rogers, Foster & Rogers, LLC, Fairbanks,  for
          Appellee.

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

          CHRISTEN, Justice.

I.   INTRODUCTION
          Bobbie Ann Hunter and Shaun Conwell are the parents  of
two  boys.   After  their  relationship ended,  Conwell  filed  a
complaint for custody.  Hunter received the complaint but did not
respond.   Conwell filed an application for entry of default  and
requested default judgment.  After a hearing at which Conwell was
present  and  Hunter was not, the superior court granted  Conwell
sole legal and primary physical custody of the boys.  Almost  two
years later, Hunter filed a pro se motion to modify custody.  The
superior  court  denied  the  motion without  holding  a  hearing
because it found Hunters allegations insufficient to constitute a
substantial change in circumstances.  Hunter filed a  motion  for
reconsideration,  which the superior court also denied,  although
it entered an order requiring Conwell to comply with a telephonic
visitation  schedule.  Hunter appeals.  We reject  her  arguments
regarding  the  initial  custody  determination  as  time-barred,
reverse   the   superior  courts  denial  of   her   motion   for
modification, and remand for a hearing on that issue.
II.  FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
          Bobbie  Ann  Hunter  and Shaun Conwell  have  two  sons
together.   The couple never married but they lived together  for
approximately six years. Their relationship ended in  early  2006
and   at  that  point  the  parties  began  living  in  different
communities;   Conwell  lived  in  Kotzebue,  Hunter   lived   in
Fairbanks, and the boys moved between the two homes.
          On  June 19, 2006, Conwell filed a complaint requesting
sole  legal  and primary physical custody of the boys.   A  state
trooper  served a summons, the custody complaint  and  an  answer
packet  for  answering a complaint, on Hunter on June  20,  2006.
Hunter  did  not respond.  On August 18, 2006, Conwell  filed  an
application  for  the  entry  of  default  and  default  judgment
pursuant to Alaska Civil Rule 55.  The clerk entered default that
day and scheduled a hearing on the request for default judgment.
          A  default  custody hearing took place in the  superior
court  on August 24, 2006.  Conwell was present; Hunter was  not.
The  court  asked Conwell why he was seeking sole legal  custody,
and Conwell responded that his concern was the safety of my kids.
While  staying with Hunter, he said, one of the boys  suffered  a
dog  bite and was injured on a ride at a fair.  Conwell expressed
concern  that  Hunter  cant really handle  the  boys  in  public.
Conwell  further testified that since the couple  stopped  living
together, Conwell had custody of the boys during the school  year
and  Hunter  had custody over the summer.  When the  court  asked
Conwell  why  Hunter  did not respond to his  complaint,  Conwell
testified that Hunter did not make time for paperwork because she
worked at night and cared for the children, or slept, during  the
day.   Conwell proposed making official the arrangement  that  he
would  have physical custody of the boys during the school  year.
The  court  said there needs to be a child support order  entered
and  asked Conwell what Hunters income was; Conwell did not  know
but guessed approximately $4,500 per month based on his knowledge
of  her income while the two were living together.  Conwell  said
that  he  believed  he  and Hunter could work  out  a  visitation
schedule  and  that he expected the boys would live  with  Hunter
during  the  summer.   The court asked if Conwell  believed  this
arrangement  was  in  the best interests  of  the  children,  and
Conwell  replied  affirmatively.  The court then  stated  on  the
record:
          Mr.   Conwell  has  filed  a  complaint   for
          custody.  Ms. Hunter was served and  has  not
          filed  an  answer.   Legal  custody  of   the
          children  is  awarded to the  plaintiff,  Mr.
          Conwell.  Primary physical custody is awarded
          to Shaun T. Conwell.  The visitation schedule
          for   these  children  will  be  as  follows:
          reasonable  visitation, but Ms. Hunter  shall
          have  the children two weeks after school  is
          out  and return the children two weeks before
          school resumes.
          
          Based on Conwells estimate, the court imputed $4,500 of
income per month to Hunter and calculated child support based  on
that  figure.   In closing, the court said that  [b]ased  on  the
testimony  of  Mr.  Conwell, Ive approved  the  orders  that  are
necessary;  theyre not final until I get  sign the child  support
order,  so lets get that done today.  The court entered a written
order consistent with its statements on the record, along with  a
child  support order requiring Hunter to pay $953  per  month  to
Conwell.
          In  August 2007 Child Support Services Division  (CSSD)
filed  a motion to modify the existing child support order  based
on   documentation  Hunter  provided  about  her  income.    CSSD
requested that Hunters monthly payments be reduced from  $953  to
$401.   Conwell opposed the motion but the superior court granted
it  on  September  6,  2007, decreasing Hunters  monthly  support
obligation to $401.
          On  July  7, 2008, Hunter filed a pro se motion seeking
modification  of the custody order.  She requested a  hearing  on
her  motion.   Hunter  argued that modification  was  appropriate
because  it  is  in  the best interest of  the  children,  and  a
substantial  change  in  circumstances has  occurred.   She  made
several  factual allegations:  (1) over the telephone, she  heard
Conwells live-in girlfriend screaming at the younger son, and she
was  sufficiently concerned to call the Kotzebue  police  to  ask
that they check on the situation; (2) Conwell frequently did  not
answer  the  phone when Hunter called, and he changed  his  phone
number  twice;  (3) the older son asked Hunter  whether  Conwells
girlfriend was his mother; (4) Conwell travels for work,  causing
him to be away from the children for several weeks at a time; (5)
Conwell  is  attempting  to alienate [Hunters]  children  against
their mother; (6) Hunter has and will continue to foster Conwells
relationship  with the children; (7) Hunter had  custody  of  the
boys  before  they traveled to Kotzebue to be with  their  father
while  their grandfather was dying, and when she went to Kotzebue
to  retrieve  them,  she  was served with  papers  regarding  the
custody  case; Hunter was assured by [Conwell] he would  let  her
know  when the hearing was to be held, but [h]e never did so  and
Conwell  received custody by default; (8) Hunter believed Conwell
was neglecting proper parental guidance and allowing the boys  to
misbehave  in  public;  (9) [b]oth children  have  extreme  anger
problems;  (10)  Conwell delayed permitting the boys  to  receive
counseling  and did not renew their Denali Kid Care  health  care
benefits,  demonstrating  a  lack of interest  in  the  childrens
emotional and physical needs. Hunter requested primary legal  and
physical custody.
          Conwell  opposed  Hunters  motion.   He  asserted  that
Hunters  factual claims were insufficient to meet her  burden  of
showing that there had been a substantial change in circumstances
since  the default custody order was entered.  Regarding Conwells
travel  schedule,  Conwell  contended  that  he  is  employed  in
Kotzebue and works a standard schedule and that [w]hen he is  not
home with the boys  including one trip to Wisconsin from April  6
to  April 12, 2008  he leaves the children in the care of  family
members.   He  also asserted that Hunter had trouble disciplining
the boys and that they only displayed anger problems while in her
care.  Conwell conceded that Hunter called the police to check on
the  welfare  of the boys but contended there was  no  legitimate
reason  for her to do so.  Conwell argued that he permits  Hunter
to  speak  to  the boys on the telephone but Hunter  often  calls
after 8:30 p.m. when the boys are already asleep.  He conceded he
once  changed  his  phone number, but argued he immediately  gave
Hunter the new number.  Conwell also asserted that when the  boys
asked  about  his girlfriends relationship to them, he  tried  to
explain that they will have two mommies with [his girlfriend]  to
be  their  stepmother.   As  to the initial  custody  proceeding,
Conwell argued that Hunter had the same notice [Conwell] had, did
not appear or even provide the Court with a phone number to reach
her,  and  that the court defaulted her is no ones responsibility
except  hers.  Conwell also denied that he allowed  the  boys  to
misbehave  in  public.   He argued the  boys  were  thriving  and
physically  and  emotionally healthy, that they  only  had  anger
problems while with Hunter,  and that he agreed to allow the boys
to  attend counseling in Fairbanks to help the boys deal with the
custody  issues.  Conwell also argued that the boys have  medical
coverage  through  his  employer and through  the  Alaska  Indian
Health Service.  He asked the court to deny Hunters motion.
          Hunters  reply  brief reasserted some  of  her  factual
claims,   made others in defense of her parenting abilities,  and
explained  she was bewildered by the custody complaint and  could
not  and  cannot afford a lawyer.  She also complained that  when
Conwell  was  away  from home, he leaves the  children  with  his
mother  or other relatives or friends rather than allowing Hunter
the  opportunity  to  spend time with them.   Hunter  attached  a
report  from the Kotzebue Police Department regarding its welfare
check  following  Hunters call to report  the  person  she  heard
yelling  over  the telephone and affidavits from a  neighbor  and
Hunters  mother stating that the boys misbehaved upon arrival  in
Fairbanks  in  the  summers of 2007 and 2008 but  improved  after
living with Hunter.  The neighbor said the boys were difficult to
handle and disorderly and Hunters mother described them as unruly
and  quite difficult to handle, almost to the point of being  out
of control.
          On September 3, 2008, the superior court denied Hunters
motion  to  modify the custody order without holding  a  hearing.
The  court  noted  that the first inquiry under AS  25.20.110  is
whether  the parent requesting modification of custody has  shown
that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the
time  the  last  custody order was entered.  The court  concluded
that  Hunter  had  not met this burden.  The court  characterized
Hunters  arguments as a) the alienation of the childs affections,
which implicated AS 25.24.150(c)(6), and b) a failure to meet the
childs  needs, which implicated AS 25.24.150(c)(1) and (2).   The
court found the childs question about whether Conwells girlfriend
was  his mother was a natural question for a five-year old, ruled
that  a  parents  new relationship is not sufficient  to  require
custody  modification, and found that the welfare check  prompted
by  Hunters call to the police resulted in no evidence of  abuse.
The  court  advised both parties that they are under a continuing
obligation  to keep each other timely apprised of any  change  in
contact  information  that occurs in the  future  and  imposed  a
schedule of regular phone calls to be made between 7:30 and  8:00
p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, unless the parties come to
some other written mutual agreement.  The court further found the
children  had  health insurance from the Indian  Health  Service,
that  [t]here is insufficient evidence to suggest that  [Conwell]
has  contributed  to  the childrens [behavioral]  problems,  that
Conwells  employment situation has not changed since the  custody
order  was entered and that one trip to Wisconsin is not constant
travel constituting a change in circumstances.
          Hunter filed a timely motion for reconsideration.   She
alleged  that  Conwell was not complying with the  courts  order,
explaining  that  she had repeatedly called the children  at  the
times  directed by the superior court but had not  been  able  to
speak  to  them.  She provided exhibits documenting  over  twenty
phone  calls  she  made to Conwell in the nine weeks  before  the
default  custody  proceeding,  reiterating  that  she  relied  on
Conwell to tell her when the custody hearing was to occur. Hunter
separately   filed  a  motion  requesting  enforcement   of   the
telephonic visitation order.
          Conwell   opposed  the  motion  to  enforce  telephonic
visitation, explaining that he was making an effort to spend time
outdoors  with the boys in the fall months so they were sometimes
unavailable  when  Hunter called.  He also asserted  that  Hunter
should  provide  him with a calling card if  she  wanted  him  to
return  her  calls. Conwell requested that the court  modify  the
times  for calls from between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. to between  7:00
and 7:30 p.m.
          The    superior   court   denied   the    motion    for
reconsideration,  observing that Hunter  had  not  made  any  new
allegations  of mistreatment by Conwells girlfriend  nor  of  any
other  facts  constituting a substantial change in circumstances.
The  court  separately  ordered  the  parties  to  abide  by  its
telephone  visitation schedule1 and ruled that  Conwell  did  not
have  to  give  Hunter the opportunity to care for  the  children
whenever he traveled out of Kotzebue.
          Hunter appeals.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
          We  review de novo [w]hether a moving party has made  a
prima  facie  showing sufficient to justify a  custody  or  child
support  modification  hearing and will  affirm  a  denial  of  a
modification  motion  without a hearing if,  in  our  independent
judgment,  the  facts  alleged, even if  proved,  cannot  warrant
modification, or if the allegations are so general or conclusory,
and  so  convincingly refuted by competent evidence, as to create
no genuine issue of material fact requiring a hearing. 2
IV.  DISCUSSION
     A.   Hunters Challenges to the Initial Custody Determination
     Are Time-Barred.
          Though Hunter appeals from the denial of her motion for
modification   of  custody,  her  brief  raises  several   issues
regarding  the  initial  custody  determination.3   Even  if   we
construe  these  arguments as requests  that  we  set  aside  the
default judgment pursuant to Alaska Civil Rule 60, the rule  that
allows  the most generous time period for challenging a  superior
court  final order, the arguments are all time-barred.4    Hunter
filed  her motion for reconsideration almost two years after  the
custody  order was entered.  She does not dispute  that  she  was
served  with the complaint and that she failed to answer it.  She
does  not  claim  that  she was unaware of  the  custody  order.5
Hunter could have filed for reconsideration in the trial court at
that  time,  but she did not do so.  It is too late to  challenge
the basis for the 2006 custody decision.
     B.   Hunters  Motion  for  Modification of  Custody  Alleged
          Facts  Sufficient  To Require that the  Superior  Court
          Hold a Hearing.
          
          Hunter  argues that the absence of findings  supporting
the  default  custody order impaired her ability  to  demonstrate
that a significant change of circumstances occurred, and that the
superior  court failed to consider several arguments that  should
have  been  relevant to the resolution of the  motion  to  modify
custody.   We  construe Hunters argument to be that the  superior
court  erred  by  denying  her request for  modification  of  the
custody order without a hearing.6
          Alaska Statute 25.20.110(a) provides that [a]n award of
custody  of a child or visitation with the child may be  modified
if  the  court determines that a change in circumstances requires
the modification of the award and the modification is in the best
interests  of  the child. We explained in Ebertz v. Ebertz7  that
modifying  an existing custody order entails a two-step  process:
the  parent  seeking  modification must establish  a  significant
change in circumstances affecting the childs best interests; only
if  the  parent  makes  this showing does the  court  proceed  to
determine  whether modification is in the best interests  of  the
child.8
          The  superior  court concluded that none of  the  facts
Hunter  alleged  were sufficient to determine that  a  change  in
circumstances  had occurred.  Where no hearing is held,  we  will
uphold  the  denial  of a motion to modify  custody  if,  in  our
independent  judgment, the facts alleged, even if proved,  cannot
warrant  modification, or if the allegations are  so  general  or
conclusory, and so convincingly refuted by competent evidence, as
to create no genuine issue of material fact requiring a hearing.9
This  standard  requires  that we assess whether  Hunter  alleged
facts  that,  if true, demonstrate that a change in circumstances
has   occurred.   Assessing  whether  a  significant  change   of
circumstances has occurred is difficult in this case; the  record
does  not  include  oral  or written findings  from  the  default
judgment proceeding, which would typically provide a snapshot  of
the  circumstances that existed at the time the original  custody
order was entered.10
          Hunter  alleged that the boys may have been exposed  to
verbal  abuse since the time the custody order was entered.   She
also  claims that the boys have extreme anger problems manifested
in   uncontrolled  outbursts  involving  hitting,  kicking,   and
screaming.   Hunter filed her own affidavit and  affidavits  from
third  parties  substantiating these claims.   Hunters  affidavit
includes   the  statement  that  she  heard  Conwells  girlfriend
screaming and belittling her son in a manner she described as  so
vicious  [that  Hunter] was concerned for her  childrens  safety.
Hunter  also alleged that when she confronted Conwell  about  her
concerns, he admitted that his girlfriend was being mean  to  the
children,  so  she  was no longer living with them.   But  Hunter
claims  she later discovered that Conwell continued to allow  his
girlfriend to care for the children when he was not present.11  If
established at an evidentiary hearing, the allegation  of  verbal
abuse, the allegation that the boys may still be left in the care
of  Conwells  girlfriend, and the allegation that the  boys  have
exhibited significant anger and behavioral issues after returning
from  Conwells  home,  could  warrant  modification  of  custody.
Therefore, Hunter is entitled to a hearing on her motion.
          Hunters  motion included other allegations  that  could
justify  modification of custody or visitation if  proven  at  an
evidentiary  hearing.   She  alleged  that  Conwells   employment
required that he live away from the children for several weeks at
a  time.  And  she argued that her schedule would  allow  her  to
provide  more  consistent care for the boys.  The superior  court
found  that Conwells employment situation ha[d] not changed since
the  custody order was entered.  But the record provides evidence
to  the  contrary.   Conwells complaint for  custody  listed  his
employer  as  Bering Air.  The affidavit he filed in  conjunction
with  his opposition to the motion to modify states that he works
for  OTZ  Telephone.   Conwell argued that he  only  infrequently
travels  for  work.  His opposition argues that  he  traveled  to
Wisconsin  for  six days in April of 2008, but we note  that  the
affidavit he filed with his opposition was not notarized  because
he was working in a bush location.  It is not clear how often his
employment requires that he work in a bush location, but  Hunters
allegation that work-related travel requires Conwell to leave the
children in the care of third-party custodians several weeks each
year  has  not  been  convincingly refuted.  The  merit  of  this
allegation must be established at an evidentiary hearing.
          Hunter  also alleged that Conwell failed to foster  her
relationship with the boys. The record available at the time  the
motion  was considered showed that Hunter continued to reside  in
Fairbanks while the boys were living in Kotzebue and that  Hunter
had  modest visitation (approximately eight weeks per year)  with
no  specific  provision for holiday visitation.   Hunter  alleged
that Conwell interfered with her ability to talk with the boys by
twice  changing  his  telephone number, by not  making  the  boys
available  when she called, and by failing to let her know  where
she  could  contact the boys when he traveled out of  town.   The
court  acknowledged  the importance of telephonic  visitation  in
this  case,  imposing  a  schedule for the  telephone  calls  and
ordering the parties to abide by it.  But in light of the limited
          time Hunter had with the boys, the time and expense required to
travel  between  Fairbanks and Kotzebue, and the  fact  that  the
record  includes evidence that the boys are exhibiting  emotional
and   behavioral  problems,  we  believe  that  Conwells  alleged
interference with telephonic visitation was extremely serious.
          In  her motion for reconsideration, Hunter alleged that
Conwell  continued  to  interfere with her telephonic  visitation
even  after the court ordered a specific schedule for the  calls.
This  allegation was not part of the record at the time the court
denied  the  motion to modify custody, but because this  case  is
remanded for a hearing, we note that Conwell did not refute  this
allegation.   He  essentially responded  by  explaining  that  he
considered  it more important to allow the boys to  play  outside
than  making them available for Hunters telephone calls,  and  he
implied  that  he  would  not return  Hunters  calls  unless  she
provided  him  with  a calling card.  The courts  order  did  not
require  that  Hunter provide a calling card.   Where  geographic
separation   makes  frequent  in-person  visitation   impossible,
telephonic visitation is crucial.12  On remand, both parties will
have  an  opportunity to address whether Hunter has had continued
difficulty  contacting the boys by telephone and if  so,  whether
any  interference by Conwell constitutes a substantial change  of
circumstances.
          In  light  of  Hunters allegations and the  uncontested
facts, we conclude that she is entitled to an evidentiary hearing
to  assess  whether  a  substantial change in  circumstances  has
occurred since the time of the original custody order.  Abuse,13 a
change  in  employment requiring significant time away  from  the
children,14 signs that the children are developing mental  health
problems,15 and interference with visitation16 can all be reasons
to  find  a  substantial  change in  circumstances.   If  Hunters
assertions are proven, she is entitled to a hearing during  which
the  court  considers evidence regarding the factors set  out  in
AS  25.24.150  to  determine the custody and visitation  schedule
that is in the boys best interests.17



V.   CONCLUSION
          We  decline to address Hunters arguments regarding  the
initial  custody determination because they are time-barred.   We
REVERSE  the  superior  courts  denial  of  Hunters  motion   for
modification and REMAND for an evidentiary hearing.

_______________________________
     1     The  order  required  Hunter to  place  calls  on  the
existing  schedule and Conwell to ensure the boys  are  available
and  ensure  the  children  return  their  mothers  calls  in   a
reasonable manner.

     2     Harrington  v.  Jordan, 984 P.2d 1,  3  (Alaska  1999)
(quoting  Morino  v.  Swayman, 970 P.2d 426, 428  (Alaska  1999))
(footnote omitted).

     3    She argues that her due process rights were violated by
the  denial of an opportunity to be heard at the initial  custody
hearing;  that  she  did not have notice of the  custody  hearing
because she was not told of the change of date; that she did  not
receive  notice  of  the  entry  of  default;  and  that  Conwell
continually  advised  he would inform her of  date  and  time  of
hearing but never did so.

     4     See  Alaska R. Civ. P. 60(b) (On motion and upon  such
terms  as  are just, the court may relieve a party  or  a  partys
legal  representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding
for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise or
excusable   neglect;   .  .  .  (3)  fraud  (whether   heretofore
denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or  other
misconduct of an adverse party . . . .  The motion shall be  made
within  a reasonable time, and for reasons (1), (2) and  (3)  not
more  than  one year after the date of notice of the judgment  or
orders.).

     5     Conwell states in his brief on appeal that he provided
her  with a copy of the courts order the day after it was issued,
and Hunter does not deny receiving it.

     6     See Bauer v. State, Dept of Corr., 193 P.3d 1180, 1184
(Alaska  2008)  ([P]ro  se  litigants  should  be  held  to  less
stringent  standards than those of lawyers.   (quoting  Breck  v.
Ulmer,  745 P.2d 66, 75 (Alaska 1987)) (internal quotation  marks
omitted)).

     7    113 P.3d 643 (Alaska 2005).

     8     Id. at 647 (citing Barrett v. Alguire, 35 P.3d 1,  5-6
(Alaska 2001)).

     9    Harrington, 984 P.2d at 3 (quoting Morino, 970 at 428).

     10     Platz  v.  Aramburo, 17 P. 3d 65,  71  (Alaska  2001)
(parents  failure  to  file a responsive pleading,  resulting  in
default,  does  not justify entry of custody order  without  best
interests determination).

     11     The  superior  court discounted  Hunters  allegations
because she offer[ed] no real evidence that [verbal abuse] occurs
and  the allegations [of yelling] were not substantiated  by  the
welfare check following Hunters call to the Kotzebue police.  But
the  report  resulting from Hunters request for a  welfare  check
indicates  that the police did not visit the house  or  otherwise
investigate the situation after speaking to Conwell on the phone,
and  Hunter  alleges  that  Conwell  admitted  to  her  that  his
girlfriend  was  being  mean  to  the  boys.   This  is   not   a
circumstance   in  which  Hunters  allegations  are  convincingly
refuted  by competent evidence, as to create no genuine issue  of
material  fact requiring a hearing.  Harrington, 984  P.2d  at  3
(quoting Morino, 970 P.2d at 428).

     12     Silvan  v.  Alcina, 105 P.3d 117, 121  (Alaska  2005)
(because  distance separated children from non-custodial  parent,
court  reasonably  placed enhanced importance on  willingness  of
custodial  parent  to  foster  an  open  relationship  with  non-
custodial parent).

     13     See  Barile  v. Barile, 179 P.3d 944, 946-47  (Alaska
2008)  (holding that allegations of domestic violence  would,  if
true, constitute a substantial change in circumstances).

     14     See  Iverson v. Griffith, 180 P.3d 943,  946  (Alaska
2008)  (remanding  for   hearing  on  modification  where  parent
alleged that other parents new employment situation prevented him
from  caring for the child on a regular basis and child was often
in custody of a family not approved by the court).

     15     Cf. Monette v. Hoff, 958 P.2d 434, 436 (Alaska  1998)
(affirming  a  custody determination based in part on  a  parents
ability to meet a childs psychological and emotional needs).

     16     See Kelly v. Joseph, 46 P.3d 1014, 1017 (Alaska 2002)
(holding that [a]ctions by a custodial parent which substantially
interfere  with  the  non-custodial  parents  visitation  rights,
including a detrimental and well established pattern of  behavior
on  the part of [the custodial parent] to erode the bonds of love
and  affection between the [other parent] and the children,   can
suffice  to  meet the changed circumstances requirement  (quoting
Hermosillo  v.  Hermosillo, 797 P.2d 1206,  1209  (Alaska  1990);
Pinneo  v.  Pinneo, 835 P.2d 1233, 1238 (Alaska 1992))  (internal
quotation marks omitted)).

     17     The change in circumstances required for modification
of  visitation rights . . . need not rise to the level sufficient
to warrant a change of custody. Acevedo v. Liberty, 956 P.2d 455,
457 (Alaska 1998) (quoting Hermosillo, 797 P.2d at 1209).

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