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Villars v. Villars

Supreme Court of Alaska

October 31, 2014

RICHARD J. VILLARS, Appellant,
v.
OLGA H. VILLARS, Appellee

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Douglas Blankenship, Judge. Superior Court No. 4FA-07-02606 CI.

Richard J. Villars, Pro se.

Marrero, Louisiana, Appellant.

No appearance by Appellee.

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

OPINION

Page 702

FABE, Chief Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Richard and Olga Villars were married in Ukraine in 2004. Richard, who is a U.S. citizen, signed a Form I-864 affidavit of support in which he agreed to maintain Olga and her daughter, Linda, at 125% of the applicable federal poverty rate. Olga and Linda came to Alaska, and Richard and Olga later divorced. For several years Richard and Olga have been litigating Richard's I-864 support obligation.

After a previous appeal by Olga regarding Richard's obligation for the first eleven months of 2010, we remanded the case to the

Page 703

superior court to resolve Richard's obligation for that period, which is no longer at issue.

The parties have continued to dispute Richard's I-864 obligations for 2009, December 2010, and all of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Following a series of hearings and orders in the superior court relating to these years, Richard filed this appeal, alleging a variety of errors by the superior court regarding its calculations of his obligations and potential offsets against those obligations. Because the superior court properly rejected Richard's attempt to relitigate issues resolved in earlier proceedings, we affirm the superior court's orders rejecting those claims. We remand for further factual findings on issues not yet resolved.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

A. Facts And Proceedings Related To The First Appeal

Many of the relevant facts in this case are the same as those in the previous case involving the same parties, Villars v. Villars ( Villars I ).[1] Our decision in that case provides much of the factual background relevant to the present appeal:

Richard and Olga were married in December 2004 in Kiev, Ukraine. Olga moved to Alaska in July 2005 with her minor daughter, Linda, to be with Richard. As Olga's immigration sponsor, Richard filed an INS Form I-864 affidavit of support, in which he agreed to maintain Olga and Linda " at an income that is at least 125 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines." [2]
Richard and Olga divorced on January 12, 2009. Their divorce decree incorporated Richard's support obligations under his I-864 affidavit and calculated monthly payments based on the federal poverty level for a two-person household in Alaska.
On February 22, 2009, Olga and Linda moved to California. There Olga married George Nasif on October 18, 2009. Olga's daughter Linda moved to Louisiana to live with Richard from December 2009 until June 14, 2010, under a temporary guardianship agreement.
Olga's home life was unsettled during 2010, the only year at issue here. She and George maintained separate residences for much of the year; at one point George secured a restraining order against her. Olga was evicted from her apartment in April and moved into a motel, where she lived for several months until moving into another apartment with George and Linda. Olga's marriage to George was annulled in November 2010.
Richard did not make any support payments to Olga for the first eleven months of 2010. Olga filed a motion in Alaska to enforce the divorce decree, and Richard made payments for December 2010 and January 2011 pursuant to a temporary support order. His obligations for the first eleven months of 2010 were resolved at trial. . . .
Trial was held in superior court in Fairbanks in February 2011; both parties attended telephonically. After hearing from Richard, Olga, and George, the court made written findings of fact and conclusions of law. The court first ruled that Richard's 2010 support payments should be determined by the federal poverty level in California, not Alaska. The court ruled further that the payments would be determined by the federal poverty level for a single-person household, not a two-person household, for the months Linda was living with Richard. Finally, the court ruled that Richard's support obligation would be offset by the amount of support that George provided to Olga and Linda during 2010. With some inconsistencies . .., George testified at trial that his 2010 income was approximately $24,000, and that he spent this entire amount to support ...

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