JACK W. FREDRICKSON, Appellant,
ALLISON O. HACKETT, Appellee.
from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, First
Judicial District, Sitka, David V. George, Judge. Superior
Court No. 1SI-12-00009 CI
Appearances: Jack W. Fredrickson, pro se, Sitka, Appellant.
W. McGowan, Sitka, for Appellee.
Before: Stowers, Chief Justice, Winfree, Maassen, Bolger, and
STOWERS, CHIEF JUSTICE.
married couple with the assistance of an attorney-mediator
reached a settlement agreement and filed for divorce in
January 2012. Under the agreement the marital home and
primary physical custody of the couple's three children
were awarded to the mother.
the divorce the father moved into a cabin and expanded it to
the point that it was able to adequately house the children.
The father moved to modify custody on the grounds that there
had been a substantial change in circumstances since the
original custody order. The superior court denied the motion
without a hearing, and the father appeals. We hold that the
father presented evidence of a substantial change in
circumstances and that the court should have conducted an
evidentiary hearing. We therefore reverse and remand for
FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
Fredrickson and Allison O. Hackett married in February 1996.
Three children were born during the marriage, all of whom are
still minors. An attorney-mediator assisted Fredrickson and
Hackett in settling property and custody issues and in
jointly filing their divorce petition in January 2012. The
superior court issued a divorce decree in March 2012 adopting
the parties' "Child Custody, Child Support, and
Property Settlement Agreement."
their property agreement, Fredrickson received a cabin that
was rented to a tenant at the time, and Hackett received the
family home. Their child custody agreement provided that
Fredrickson and Hackett would have shared legal custody and
that Hackett would have primary physical custody. It set
forth a detailed schedule of when the children would be with
Fredrickson. Under this schedule Hackett would have physical
custody of the children approximately 75% of the time and
Fredrickson would have physical custody of the children
approximately 25% of the time.
August 2015 Fredrickson, representing himself, filed a motion
and affidavit to modify custody, visitation, and child
support. Fredrickson requested shared physical custody,
seeking approximately 40% custody of the children instead of
25%. Hackett, represented by counsel, partially opposed the
motion to modify, opposing modification of custody and
visitation but agreeing that modification of child support
motion and affidavit Fredrickson stated that the agreement to
give Hackett the family home left him without suitable
housing for the children. While Hackett and the children
lived in the family home, Fredrickson initially lived with
family and friends and, briefly, at his church. Later, the
tenant of the cabin that Fredrickson received in the divorce
moved out, and Fredrickson moved into the cabin. He then
built an approximately 1, 300-square-foot addition, so the
cabin had "a large kitchen/living area with two and a
half bathrooms" and separate bedrooms for each child.
superior court denied Fredrickson's motion to modify
custody and visitation without a hearing and requested more
information with respect to the motion to modify child
support. The court's order explained that
Fredrickson's remodeling of the cabin constituted
"merely an improvement insufficient to establish a
significant change in circumstances."
appeals the denial of his motion to modify custody and
visitation without a hearing. The child support modification
is not at issue on appeal.