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Kyte v. Stallings

Supreme Court of Alaska

September 19, 2014

THOMAS E. KYTE, Appellant,
v.
DEIDRE L. STALLINGS AND STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES DIVISION, Appellees

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Alex Swiderski, Judge pro tem. Superior Court No. 3AN-03-12844 CI.

Rhonda F. Butterfield, Anchorage, for Appellant.

Susan L. Daniels, Assistant Attorney General, Anchorage, and Michael C. Geraghty, Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee State of Alaska.

No appearance by Appellee Deidre L. Stallings.

Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger, Justices.

OPINION

Page 698

MAASSEN, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

In this appeal, a father argues that he was entitled to a retroactive modification of his child support obligations. He contends that a request for modification he filed in 2008 with the Child Support Services Division (CSSD) was never resolved by a final, appealable decision as required by Alaska Appellate Rule 602; that the request was therefore still pending in 2011 when he filed a motion for modification in superior court; and that modification to the date of his 2008 request would not be unlawfully retroactive. We conclude, however, that CSSD's decision of the father's 2008 request was an appealable final order satisfying Appellate Rule 602, and we therefore affirm the superior court's conclusion that the father is not entitled to a retroactive modification of child support.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

Thomas Kyte and Deidre Stallings are the parents of a daughter, born in 2002. CSSD entered an administrative order in 2005 requiring Kyte to pay child support of $576 per month, based on his estimated annual income. Stallings later moved that child support be made retroactive to 2002, and Kyte moved for a prospective modification; the superior court denied both motions in a 2007 order that maintained the monthly amount set by the earlier administrative order.

In January 2008 Kyte filed with CSSD a form request for review and modification of the 2007 order. A few weeks later CSSD sent Kyte and Stallings notice that the request had been filed, describing the review process and asking both parents to submit income affidavits, tax records, pay stubs, and proof of health insurance.

The next document in the record is central to this appeal. It is a notice from CSSD to Kyte dated May 8, 2008, captioned in bold letters: " Notice of Denial of Modification Review." The body of the notice reads:

We reviewed the request for a modification on May 8, 2008. We will not go forward with the modification ...

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