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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Georgette S.B. v. Scott B. (12/7/2018) sp-7319

Georgette S.B. v. Scott B. (12/7/2018) sp-7319

           Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the P                  ACIFIC  R`EPORTER.  

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                      THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA                                       

GEORGETTE  S.B.,                                                 )  

                                                                 )    Supreme  Court  No.  S-16687  

                                Appellant,                       )  


                                                                 )    Superior Court No. 3AN-14-04278 CI  

           v.                                                    )  


                                                                 )    O P I N I O N  


SCOTT B.,                                                        )  


                                                                 )    No. 7319 - December 7, 2018  

                                Appellee.                        )  




                        ppeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third  


                     Judicial District, Anchorage, Patrick J. McKay, Judge.  

                     Appearances: Larissa Hail and Kris O. Jensen, Law Offices  


                     of  Dan  Allan  &  Associates,  Anchorage,  for  Appellant.  


                      Scott B., pro se, Anchorage, Appellee.  


                     Before: Stowers, Chief Justice, Winfree, Maassen, Bolger,  


                     and Carney, Justices.  


                     MAASSEN, Justice.  



                     A mother appeals from an order modifying custody, which awarded sole  


legal  and  physical  custody  of  her  three  children  to  the  father  and  limited  her  to  


supervised visitation pending the children's full engagement in therapy.  The mother  


argues that the father failed to demonstrate a change in circumstances that would justify  

----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

a modification of custody and that the resulting modification was not in the children's                                                                                                                 

best interests.   

                                   We conclude that the superior court did not abuse its discretion when it                                                                                                                   

determined that the mother's interference with the children's therapy amounted to a                                                                                                                                    

change in circumstances and that the children's best interests were served by an award                                                                                                                            

of sole legal and physical custody to the father while therapy took hold.  We therefore                    

affirm the court's order modifying custody.                                                                         

II.               FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS                  

                 A.                Background  

                                                                                                           1 married in 2002 and divorced in 2015.  They  

                                   Georgette S.B. and Scott B.                                                                                                                                                      

have three children born during the marriage, two boys and a girl.  


                                   The superior court issued a custody order in November 2014.  The court  


observed that "[t]he parties have had a highly acrimonious separation," but it found "that  


both parents express the desire to meet the children's needs and that both are capable of  


meeting the basic needs of the children."  The court therefore ordered joint physical and  


legal  custody,  with  a  legal  custody  exception  for  the  children's  educational  and  


therapeutic needs, on which Scott had the final say. The court ordered Scott to enroll the  


children in therapy and ordered both Georgette and Scott to "try to alternately attend the  


children's individual therapy and . . . fully cooperate and participate as requested by the  


individual therapists."  


                                   In July 2015 Scott filed a motion to compel Georgette to participate in the  


children's therapy and to modify the 2014 order to give him sole custody of the children.  


In October he moved to hold Georgette in contempt for failing to allow the children to  


participate in therapy, making disparaging remarks about him to the children, exposing  


                  1                We  use  pseudonyms  to  protect  the  children's  privacy.  

                                                                                                              -2-                                                                                                              7319  

----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

the  children  to  litigation  matters,  and  failing  to  follow  the  court-ordered  custody  


calendar.        The court found Georgette in  contempt following  a hearing.                                       The  court  


discussed the therapy schedule for the next few weeks and specified which parent would  


be taking the children to each appointment.  Looking forward to the scheduled custody  


modification hearing in three months' time, the court stated: "If you don't keep these  


kids in therapy, I will do what's necessary to make sure they're in therapy.  I cannot be  


any  clearer,  and  I  want  the  court  record  []  to  reflect  that  I  am looking  directly  at  


Ms. [S.B.] when I am saying this."  


                    In  January  2016  the  court  held  an  evidentiary  hearing  on  Scott's  


modification motion.  The court did not change the existing joint custody arrangement,  


only  its  day-to-day  execution.                     The  court  noted  its  continued  displeasure  with  


Georgette's failure to support the children's therapy but said it would give the parties one  


more chance to cooperate with therapy and other activities, or it would be forced to  


award full custody to one parent.  


          B.        The March 2017 Custody Modification  


                     Scott again moved to modify custody in November 2016.  The court held  


a  three-day  trial  the  following  March  and  heard  from  21  witnesses,  including  the  


children's former therapists.   The court then put its findings and conclusions on the  


record.  The court found that all three children had "a special need for psychotherapy"  


but  that  Georgette,  by  her  "fail[ure]  to  support  past  therapeutic  involvement,"  had  


"interfered with a smooth therapeuticinterventionfor thechildren." The court found that  


Georgette's "confront[ational] communication style and refus[al] to accept the realities  


of the scope of assistance required [had] interfered with the children's schooling in the  


past and the children's therapy, both past and present."  It found that Georgette's "lack  


of support for therapy was conveyed to the children through either words, actions[,] or  


                                                                -3-                                                         7319

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attitudes in such a manner that the children did not feel that they [had] to cooperate in the  


therapeutic process and . . . [that] disrupted the therapeutic process."  


                    The court noted that "Denali Family Services and Counseling Solutions  


[were]  no  longer  an  option  for  these  children,  .  .  .  in  no  small  part  .  .  .  due  to  


[Georgette's]  sabotaging  the  therapeutic  relationship."                                   But  the  court  found  it  


"interesting" that the children had been more involved "when [Georgette] chose and  


supported" a therapist at Southcentral Foundation in December 2016, after Counseling  


Solutions had ceased its sessions.  The therapist Georgette selected could not continue  


beyond  four  sessions  because  of  Southcentral's  eligibility  criteria,  and  Scott  was  


attempting to establish "another therapeutic family relationship, including wraparound  


services, with Anchorage Community Mental Health." But the court was concerned that  


Georgette did not "fully support[] these services, and there [was] already indication that  


[the older boy was] resistant to therapy."  


                    The court concluded, "[r]egretfully," that the needed therapy would not  


"take hold" unless the children were given time to be "fully engaged in the therapeutic  


process" outside their mother's negative influence.  It found that Scott, unlike Georgette,  


had "always been open to receiving professional assistance."  The court awarded "both  


sole legal and sole physical custody of the children" to Scott and, "at least temporarily,"  


limited Georgette to supervised contact with the children. The court stated its "intention  


.  . .  to  use this period of []supervised  contact between  mother  and the children as  


something of a respite to allow the children to begin to fully engage in therapy."  It  


required Georgette to "obtain a psychological evaluation" and encouraged her to "follow  


any reasonable recommendations made in" that evaluation, "which will go a long way  


towards her regaining unsupervised and frequent contact with the children." Elaborating  


onthis requirement inasubsequent written order, the court authorizedGeorgetteto move  


"for unsupervised visitation upon providing certification from a professional versed in  

                                                                -4-                                                         7319

----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

high-conflict parenting that [Georgette] has acquired both a clear understanding of, and                                                                                                                                                                        

intent   to   apply,   healthy   and   appropriate   boundaries  with   the   children   in   both   her  

communications and non-verbal cues about their father and their third-party providers."                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                         Georgette   appeals,   arguing   that   the   superior   court   erred   in   finding   a  

substantial change in circumstances and, assuming there was such a change, abused its                                                                                                                                                                               

discretion in deciding that the children's best interests required a modification of custody                                                                                                                                                        

and limits on her visitation.                         

III.	                STANDARDS OF REVIEW                                           

                                         "The trial court has broad discretion in determining child custody issues;   

resolution of those issues will be reversed 'only if, after a review of the entire record, we                                                                                                                                                                      

are convinced that the trial court abused its discretion or that the controlling factual                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                        2  This "broad discretion" applies  

findings made by the trial court are clearly erroneous.' "                                                                                                                                                                                            

to the determination whether there has been "a substantial change in circumstances  


affecting the child."3                                                When considering a child's best interests in making a custody  


award, a trial court abuses its discretion if it "considers improper factors, fails to consider  


statutorily mandated factors, or gives too much weight to some factors."4  


IV.	                 DISCUSSION  


                     A.	                 The  Superior  Court  Did  Not  Abuse  Its  Discretion  By  Finding  A  


                                          Substantial Change In Circumstances.  


                                         Thesuperior court determinedthat Georgette's continued interferencewith  


the children's therapy was a changed circumstance that allowed it to consider whether  

                     2                   Barrett v. Alguire                                     , 35 P.3d 1, 5 (Alaska 2001) (quoting                                                                             Jenkins v. Handel                                       ,  

 10 P.3d 586, 589 (Alaska 2000)).                                                

                     3                   Heather W. v. Rudy R., 274 P.3d 478, 482 (Alaska 2012).  


                     4                    William P. v. Taunya P., 258 P.3d 812, 814 (Alaska 2011) (quoting Long  


v. Long, 816 P.2d 145, 150 (Alaska 1991)).  


                                                                                                                                  -5-	                                                                                                                      7319

----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

to   modify   custody.     Georgette   argues  that   the   evidence   did   not   support   this  

determination, though she does not appear to challenge the essential findings of fact: that                                                                           

the children had a special need for therapy and that her own attitude toward therapy had                                                                              

                                                                              5   We read her argument as a challenge to the  

interfered with its success in the past.                                                                                                                              

court's determination that the facts, as found by the court, amounted to a substantial  


change in circumstances, a determination we review for abuse of discretion.6  


                           The  first  custody  order,  from November  2014,  noted  the  existence  of  


serious conflict in the parties' home and their "highly acrimonious separation." It noted  


that the children had been in therapy but no longer were, although their therapist had  


recommended that therapy continue.  The superior court specifically found at that time  


that Georgette's "confrontational and sometimes oppositional attitudes have interfered  


in meeting the children's therapeutic needs, whether directly with the professionals  


involved or indirectly by involving the children in the divorce issues."  While finding  


substantial fault with both parties' parenting, the court found that it was "in the children's  


best interests that [Scott] be granted sole legal custody to determine the children's  


educational and mental health needs," and it ordered that he "re-enroll the children into  


therapy," that he keep Georgette advised, and that the parties "try to alternately attend  


the children's individual therapy and . . . fully cooperate and participate as requested by  


the individual therapists."  


                           Over  the  next  two  years  the  superior  court  repeatedly  admonished  


Georgette about her reluctance to support the children's therapy, and it warned that  


continued problems could result in an award of full legal custody to one parent.  Scott's  


             5             Instead, Georgette emphasizes testimony about other issues - academics                                                       

and child care.                

             6             See Heather W., 274 P.3d at 482.  


                                                                                   -6-                                                                            7319

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November 2016 motion for modification of custody and supporting affidavit were based  


on Georgette's allegedly "destructive" and "dysfunctional"behavioracrossawide range  


of family interactions, but much of the evidence at the March 2017 trial focused on the  


therapy issue.  


                     Scott called three employees of Counseling Solutions of Alaska, where he  


had  enrolled  the  children  in  therapy  from  September  2015  to  August  2016.                                           The  

daughter's therapist testified about her interactions with the parents.  She testified that  


Scott brought the children to therapy, remained during the sessions, informed her of what  


was going on at home "in terms of the kids' behavior," and left her "probably two or  


three voicemails per week" about the children's activities and progress.  She described  


Scott as "very engaged and involved in the kids' therapy sessions," "open to feedback,"  


and "communicative with us regarding the issues with the kids and things that would go  


on"; overall, he was "very pleasant and cooperative."  


                    The therapist described her experience with Georgette differently.   She  


testified that their interactions "initially . . . were very friendly and very cordial," but "as  


time progressed they became more adversarial."  She testified that she sensed "kind of  


an underlying suspicion [on Georgette's part] of our intentions regarding her children."  


She testified that Georgette called the clinic maybe once a month; she described the calls  


as "not how can I do better, how can I support my children in therapy," but rather  


"geared toward[] . . . the subjects that had been broached, [and] when this therapy was  


going to be completed."  There were conflicts with Georgette over scheduling, "some  


possible concern [on Georgette's part] regarding racial issues" (not further explained in  


the therapist's testimony), and whether it was appropriate for the therapist to ask the  


daughter about a particular conflict with her mother.   The therapist testified that it  


became clear that Georgette "did not feel the kids should have been in counseling," and  


that this attitude affected the daughter's attitude as well:  "[A] lot of the undercurrent of  

                                                                -7-                                                         7319

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negativity regarding counseling had started to come up with [the daughter] and I felt like  


actually counseling had become counterproductive  for  her  and actually had started  


creating more anxiety for her to be here and to have somebody asking questions."  The  


therapist testified that the daughter still needed counseling, because she was "going to  


struggle to succeed" until "the level of conflict between her parents . . . [was] resolved,"  


but that Counseling Solutions had to "back away from treating the kids" because the  


"disdain," "negativity," and "anxiety" apparent in Georgette's attitude made therapy  




                     Theboys' counseloratCounselingSolutions alsotestified. Hetestified that  


he  "was  impressed  with  [Scott]  because  he  was  punctual,"  "engaged  in  therapy,"  


"consistent  with  parenting  interventions,"  and  "patient  with  the  children,"  and  "he  


communicated  quite  clearly  about  his  concerns  and  needs."                                    He  testified  that  his  


interactions  with  Georgette  were  limited;  she  "complied  with  the  formality  of  


counseling" but was reserved and rarely volunteered information about how things were  


going at home.  He had the impression that she did "not want to or need to participate"  


because the counseling was for the children.   He testified that Counseling Solutions  


ended the boys' therapy sessions "probably for two reasons": first, "that we really were  


not able to help the children cope with the interpersonal stress between the parents"; and  


second, because "if there is no parental agreement [that] counseling is reasonable and  


helpful[,] counseling typically does not work all that well[,] and in this case it was a  


spectacular failure."  He testified that the boys still needed counseling.  


                     The third witness from Counseling Solutions was one of its owners.  He  


testified  that  he  got  involved  in  the  children's  cases  because  there  were  "a  lot  of  


complaints  and  questions  about  policies  and  what  we're  doing  and  what  kind  of  


treatment  the  kids  are  getting  and  why  it's  even  necessary";  these  questions  were  


"[p]rimarily from mom." He testified that his interactions with Scott "were pleasant and  

                                                                -8-                                                          7319

----------------------- Page 9-----------------------


respectful and cooperative." But as for Georgette, the owner testified that she questioned  


the motives and tactics of the children's therapists; she insisted she would not pay for  


"family therapy," that is, time the therapists spent talking to Scott about the children; she  


was unhelpful in dealing with insurance and billing issues; and "there was always some  


sort of problem or complaint" over scheduling.   The owner testified that Georgette  


rejected his suggestions that she meet with the therapists, sit in on the children's sessions,  


and get a better understanding of "the therapeutic process."   He testified that in his  


interactions with her she "always seemed really adversarial, really distrustful" and that  


the children were "picking up on" this and becoming more "shut down and withdrawn."  


He testified that the clinic's collective decision to terminate the children's therapy was  


because "it was felt that it just had become too adversarial, that there was a lack of trust";  


"it was difficult to deal with [Georgette] on a consistent basis . . . and people were  




                    This testimony from the children's counselors, in the context of the case's  


history, supports the superior court's conclusion that therapy was unlikely to succeed  


unless the children were given "a respite" from Georgette's influence to allow them "to  


begin to fully engage in therapy."  


                    Georgette  argues  that  the  superior  court  erred  by  finding  changed  


circumstances on this record because her dissatisfaction with the children's therapy  


preexisted the immediately preceding custody order, issued in January 2016, when the  


court declined to modify custody.   It is true that the court characterized Georgette's  


attitude as a significant problem as early as the 2014 custody order, when it awarded  


Scott decision-making authority over the children's "mental health needs" and ordered  


both parties to "fully cooperate and participate [in therapy] as requested by the individual  


therapists."  As of the March 2017 custody order, the family had lost the opportunity to  


continue therapyat Counseling Solutions dueto Georgette's behavior, and the remaining  

                                                                -9-                                                         7319

----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

options appeared limited. We cannot fault the court for giving Georgette several chances                                                                                                   

to   correct   her   behavior   before   deciding   that   the   worsening   situation   amounted   to  

"changed circumstances."  We have recognized that while "alleged violations of court   

custody orders do not necessarily constitute grounds for modification, . . . they certainly                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                     7  the evidence supports  

can if the violations are continuous, repetitious, or egregious";                                                                                                                       

such a finding here.  


                                Georgette argues that the children's academic performance had improved  


since the preceding custody order and that Scott had difficulty providing adequate child  


care.  But the court made no findings in either of these areas, choosing to focus on the  


perennial issue of therapy.  The court could reasonably find a change in circumstances  


in  one  important  area  even  though  other  areas  showed  improvement  or  remained  




                                Georgette also argues that she "was the only parent who could report  


success  with enrolling the children in productive counseling."   She points out that  


following a December 2016 hearing at which the court "expressed its concern that the  


children werenot seeing any counselor"(Counseling Solutions having ended its sessions  


                7               Collier v. Harris                      , 261 P.3d 397, 406 (Alaska 2011);                                                 see Long              , 816 P.2d at            

 151 (rejecting argument that ongoing acrimony between parents could not constitute                                                                                                  

changed circumstances for modification                                                        purposes because"[w]hatis important is that the                                                         

circumstances of the children                                          worsened  as a result of their parents' actions" (emphasis                                                    

in original)).   

                8               See Kelly v. Joseph, 46 P.3d 1014, 1017-18 (Alaska  2002)  (affirming  


finding of changed circumstances based on interference with mother's visitation rights  


despite father's argument that "children were happy, healthy, well-cared for and doing  


better in school" with him);  cf. Jenkins v. Handel, 10 P.3d 586, 591 (Alaska 2000)  


(affirming finding that mother's substantial improvement in some important areas was  


insufficient to justify modification when court based its decision on lack of improvement  


in other areas).  


                                                                                                  -10-                                                                                           7319

----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

 severalmonthsbefore),                                                                          sheunilaterally                                                 engaged acounselor                                                                 atSouthcentral Foundation,                                     

where the children presented well.                                                                                                              But that counselor testified that, after four sessions                                                                                                                           

between December 2016 and February 2017, she concluded that the children did not                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

meet   Southcentral's   criteria   for   continued   therapy   -   they   were   not   "severely  

 emotionally distressed." She did believe, however, that the children would benefit from                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 "individual counseling," and that the parents, too, should have "joint counseling to learn                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

how to co-parent . . . so that it doesn't . . . result in emotional distress for the kids."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The  

 superior court reasonably understood this evidence to show that the children were likely                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

to benefit from therapy if only Georgette supported it.                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                       We   affirm   the   superior   court's   conclusion   that   Georgette's   continued  

resistance to the children's therapy constituted a change in circumstances that justified                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 a modification of custody.                                              

                            B.	                        The Superior Court Did Not Abuse Its Discretion In Weighing The                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                       Best Interests Factors.                                       

                                                       Having found a change in circumstances that justified a modification of                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 custody, the superior court's next taskwas                                                                                                                                to consider whether modifyingcustody                                                                                                                          would  

                                                                                                                                          9       The modification decision " 'must be guided by the  

be in the children's best interests.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

best interests factors listed in AS 25.24.150(c),' which include the capability of the  


parents to meet the child's needs; 'the love and affection existing between the child and  


 each parent'; stability; each parent's ability to foster a relationship between the child and  


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              10          "While the 'court  

the other parent . . . ; domestic violence; and substance abuse."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


                            9                          See  AS 25.20.110(a) ("An 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.").                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                            10                         Judd v. Burns, 397 P.3d 331, 339 (Alaska 2017) (quoting Andrea C. v.  


Marcus K., 355 P.3d 521, 528 (Alaska 2015)).  


                                                                                                                                                                          -11-	                                                                                                                                                                 7319

----------------------- Page 12-----------------------

cannot assign disproportionate weight to particular factors while ignoring others, it has                                                                    

considerable discretion in determining the importance of each statutory factor in the                                                                         

context of a specific case and is not required to weigh the factors equally.' "                                                                11  


                         In this case the superior court did not address each best interests factor  


individually, but it said it had "reviewed" them. It stated that "[w]hile most of the factors  


remain neutral, and specifically there was no question that the children have love and  


affection for both parents, . . . all of the children have a special need for psychotherapy  


and . . . mother has disrupted that need and is not capable of supporting that need at this  


time." It was this best interests finding that formed the basis for the court's award of sole  


physical and legal custody to Scott.  


                         Georgette argues that several factors the court did not specifically address  


favored her.  She argues that she was more capable than Scott of meeting the children's  

                                                                                        12  because his late work hours left the  


physical, emotional, mental, and social needs 

children "worn-out andexhausted,"hehad troublemakingsuretheydidtheir homework,  


and the children "were happy to see their Mother." But as explained above, it was within  


the superior court's broad discretion to determine that the children's "special need for  


psychotherapy" was their predominant need and that Georgette was "not capable of  


supporting that need at this time."  


                         Georgette also argues that "[t]here was unchallenged testimony . . . that [the  


two boys] preferred being with their Mother."13  But Georgette's unhealthy influence on  


             11          Id.  at 339-40 (quoting                    Andrea C.           , 355 P.3d at 528).         

             12          See AS 25. 24.150(c)(1), (2) ("In determining the best interests of the child  


the court shall consider (1) the physical, emotional, mental, religious, and social needs  


of the child; [and] (2) the capability and desire of each parent to meet these needs.").  


             13          See AS 25.24.150(c)(3) ("In determining the best interests of the child the  



                                                                              -12-                                                                        7319

----------------------- Page 13-----------------------

the children's attitudes - and particularly their openness to therapy - was a significant                                                                                                                 

part of the problem the court sought to address; under these circumstances it was not                                                                                                                                         

unreasonable for the court to give little or no weight to the boys' preferences.                                                                                               

                                    The superior court's best interests determination is sufficient for purposes                                                                                               

of our review "if the findings provide 'a clear indication of the factors [that the court]                                                                                                                             

considered important in exercising its discretion or allow us to glean from the record                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                     14   We are satisfied that the superior court did not  

what considerations were involved.' "                                                                                                                                                                                          

abuse its discretion when it weighed the best interests factors and assigned determinative  


weight to the children's special need for therapy and Georgette's lack of "the capability  


and desire" to meet that need.  


                  C.	               The  Superior  Court  Did  Not  Abuse  Its  Discretion  By  Limiting  


                                    Georgette To Only Supervised Visitation With The Children.  


                                    Finally, Georgette contends that the superior court erred by limiting her to  


supervised visitation pending the children's full engagement in therapy.  She notes our  


discussion of the issue in J.F.E. v. J.A.S., in which we observed "that the best interests  


of the child standard normally requires unrestricted visitation with the noncustodial  


parent"  and  "[t]herefore,  an  order  requiring  that  visitation  be  supervised  must  be  


supported by findings that specify how unsupervised visitation will adversely affect the  


                  13                (...continued)  


court shall consider . . . (3) the child's preference if the child is of sufficient age and  


capacity to form a preference.").  

                  14                Sweeney v. Organ, 371 P.3d 609, 612 (Alaska 2016) (alteration in original)  


(quoting Rosenblum v. Perales, 303 P.3d 500, 504 (Alaska 2013)).  


                                                                                                              -13-	                                                                                                       7319

----------------------- Page 14-----------------------

child's   physical,   emotional,   mental,   religious,   and   social   well-being   and   the   other  

interests set out in AS 25.24.150."                   15  

                     We are satisfied in this case with the superior court's explanation of the  


need       for     supervised          visitation.           The       court      directly        addressed         Georgette's  


"confront[ational] communication style and [refusal] to accept the realities of the scope  


of  assistance  required"  for  the  children,  rendering  her  incapable  of  supporting  the  


children's "special need for psychotherapy"; the effect this had had on the children's  


therapy  in  the  past;  Scott's  current  attempt  to  "establish[]  another  therapeutic  .  .  .  


relationship" with Anchorage Community Mental Health, one of the few remaining  


options; the court's fear that Georgette would "sabotage" this relationship as well; and  


the court's  reluctant conclusion  that limiting Georgette's negative influence on  the  


children "at least temporarily, . . . so that the therapy can take hold," was the only  


workable option.  


                     We have emphasized  our preference "that a court ordering supervised  


                                                                                                                             16   The  

visitation also specify a plan by which unsupervised visitation can be achieved."                                                 


superior court addressed this issue as well, advising Georgette that she could move to lift  


the visitation restrictions "upon providing certification from a professional versed in  


high-conflict parenting that [she] has acquired both a clear understanding of, and intent  


to   apply,   healthy   and   appropriate   boundaries   with   the   children   in   both   her  


communications and non-verbal cues about their father and their third-party providers."  


           15        930  P.2d  409,  413-14  (Alaska   1996).  

           16        Monette  v.  Hoff,  958  P.2d  434,  437  (Alaska   1998).  

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We have affirmed such instructions in the past;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the superior court did not abuse its                                                                                                                                                                  

discretion by imposing them in this case.                                                                                                                                                                       

V.                                     CONCLUSION  

                                                                              We AFFIRM the superior court's order modifying custody.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                       17                                     See Matthew P. v. Gail S.                                                                                                                         , 354 P.3d 1044, 1050 (Alaska 2015) (finding no                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

abuse of discretion when superior court allowed father to regain unsupervised visitation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

if he "engage[d] with a therapist and show[ed] [the court] . . . that in fact he . . . is getting                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

or has gotten better").                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -15-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       7319

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