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Hill v. Bloom

Supreme Court of Alaska

July 9, 2010

Allison HILL, Appellant,
v.
Deborah BLOOM, Appellee.

Page 216

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 217

Herbert A. Viergutz, Barokas Martin & Tomlinson, Anchorage, for Appellant.

R. Scott Taylor, Feldman Orlansky & Sanders, Anchorage, for Appellee.

Before: FABE, WINFREE, and STOWERS, Justices.

OPINION

STOWERS, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

On February 20, 2008, following an evidentiary hearing, the superior court calculated the future child support obligations that Allison Hill owed to Deborah Bloom. The court used a five-year average of Hill's income from 2002 to 2006 to calculate child support for 2008 forward. The court rejected Hill's argument that her substantially reduced 2007 income should be the basis of her future child support obligations and expressly found her reduced 2007 income to be an " aberration." Hill did not appeal the court's child support order.

Five months after the February 2008 evidentiary hearing, Hill filed a motion to modify child support, arguing that her reduced income for the first half of 2008 was a presumed material change in circumstances under Alaska Civil Rule 90.3(h)(1). The superior court denied Hill's motion without an evidentiary hearing, finding no new evidence or changed circumstances. Hill appeals the superior court's finding that there was no new evidence presented and its denial of her motion to modify. We conclude that the superior court did not clearly err by finding that Hill had presented no new evidence. We also conclude that the superior court did not err in denying Hill's motion without an evidentiary hearing because she had not presented sufficient evidence of permanently reduced income to show a material change in circumstances. We therefore affirm the superior court's denial of the motion to modify.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

Allison Hill and Deborah Bloom lived together as domestic partners from February 1995 until September 2005. Two children were born to and adopted by the parties during their partnership. Hill, a chiropractor, was the sole owner of The Hill Clinic. The majority of the parties' financial issues from their separation were settled in mediation on May 15, 2007. As part of the settlement, both parties agreed to establish future child support under Alaska Civil Rule 90.3.

Shortly after the mediation, both parties filed affidavits for calculation of child support under Rule 90.3. " Due to differences in the calculations of the parties," Hill filed a request for an evidentiary hearing specifically in order to " testify as to the decline of her business."

On February 20, 2008, the superior court held an evidentiary hearing on child support. At the hearing, Hill entered into evidence a report on her income prepared by her accountant. As the sole owner of The Hill Clinic, Hill received all the net income from the clinic in addition to a salary of approximately $36,000 a year. The report showed that there were differences in the year-to-year net income from the clinic. Specifically, the clinic experienced a large drop in net income from 2006 ($106,148) to 2007 ($42,645). Hill testified that her relocation of The Hill Clinic and the clinic's loss of some massage therapists ...


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