There are three new opinions issued by the Alaska Supreme Court this week. Two domestic relations cases, one child in aid of need. While the headings might suggest these decisions don’t have broad application to Alaskan’s, they have many points that address issues of general application.
Supreme Court Opinion No. 6772 S-14403 Wagner v. Wagner [domestic relations]
This ruling demonstrates how jealously the Alaska Supreme Court guard’s the appearance of fairness in the Alaska Judicial System. The superior court held trial without the attendance of Mr. Wagner. The court entered a judgment splitting things equally. Mr. Wagner didn’t complain that equal was not fair or that any other result would have been urged if he could have attended. These facts are actually required by the court rule. The Alaska Supreme Court overlooked that deficiency and found Mr. Wagner’s reasons for nonattendance compelling enough that it ruled a continuance should have been granted. So the Wagner’s will likely get to retry their case this spring with both parties present, perhaps
Supreme Court MOJs
No. 1455 S-14319 Pulczinski v. Pulczinski [domestic relations]
This is a child support change case. If the child support amount is adjusted, the change date will be based on the date of the notice of possibility of change. If it takes 14 months before the court signs the order you will suddenly owe 14 months worth of back support. That can result in a huge burden if you didn’t think you were going to lose the motion. As shown in this case, you won’t make it go away by appealing.
No. 1456 S-14804 Sarah G. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services, OCS [CINA]
This is a tragic case. Most child in aid of need cases read similarly.