Geldermann v. GeldermannAnnotate this Case
Darcey and Matthew Geldermann, parents of a young son, divorced in 2011, agreeing that the mother would have primary physical custody during the school year. The father moved to California. When the child began experiencing behavioral problems, the parents agreed to switch custody for a few years, giving the father primary physical custody in California during the school year. The parties signed a custody modification agreement to this effect in December 2014, including both parents’ waivers of child support, but they did not file the agreement in court. The next year, following a dispute over the mother’s visitation, both parties sought a judicial resolution of custody. The father went to a California court seeking to make the 2014 change in custody permanent. The mother went to Alaska superior court seeking to enforce the original 2011 agreement that gave her primary physical custody. The Alaska court asserted jurisdiction; it ultimately modified physical custody in favor of the father but maintained the parents’ joint legal custody. The court also modified child support, ordering the mother to pay child support effective from the date the father first sought to modify custody in California. The mother appealed the physical custody and child support orders, challenging among other things the child support order’s effective date. The father cross-appealed, challenging the decision on joint legal custody. The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s custody and child support orders, concluding that they were well supported by the evidence, and that the court did not abuse its discretion in selecting the child support order’s effective date.