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Wells v. Barile

Supreme Court of Alaska

October 16, 2015

TAMMY S. WELLS, Appellant,
v.
PRIMO J. BARILE, Appellee

Page 584

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Palmer, Vanessa White, Judge. Superior Court No. 3PA-03-00176 CI.

Tammy Wells, Palmer, Appellant, Pro se.

Primo Barile, Palmer, Appellee, Pro se.

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

OPINION

Page 585

MAASSEN, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Tammy Wells appeals the superior court's grant of a motion to modify child custody filed by her former husband Primo Barile. Tammy also challenges the court's child support order, its order that she reimburse Primo for half their child's Permanent Fund Dividends (PFDs), and a writ of assistance the court issued for the custody order's enforcement. She also alleges that several of the superior court's rulings show judicial bias and a failure to give her the leniency appropriate to her status as a pro se litigant.

We conclude that the superior court abused its discretion when it ordered Tammy to reimburse Primo for the PFDs without taking into account, as an offset, the amounts that Primo may have owed Tammy for medical care. We reverse the judgment on this issue and remand for further proceedings. On all other issues we find no error and affirm.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

Tammy Wells and Primo Barile married in 1995 and divorced in 2004. They have a son, born in 1997. Tammy married Lance Wells after her divorce from Primo and has two children with Lance.

Tammy and Primo shared physical custody of their son on a " 50/50 basis" pursuant to an order entered in January 2009.[1] Neither parent was required to pay child support to the other. The 2009 order required Tammy to apply for their son's PFDs but divide them equally with Primo. The order also required the parents to keep their son on their health insurance as long as it was available at reasonable cost through their employers, and to share the cost of any reasonable health care expenses not covered by insurance, up to a maximum of $5,000 annually.

A. Lance's Motion To Modify Custody

Tammy and Lance divorced in 2013. The permanent custody order entered in their divorce provided for joint legal and shared physical custody of their two children. Lance moved to modify custody in ...


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