Weathers v. WeathersAnnotate this Case
Rowena Weathers (mother) appealed the superior court’s custody modification order awarding Dennis Weathers (father) physical custody of their daughter 59% of the year. Previously, pursuant to the parties’ divorce settlement agreement, the mother had been awarded primary physical custody in large part because the father’s employment required him to work overseas most of the year. After the father was retired by his employer due to a downturn in the oil market, he unilaterally took custody and refused to allow the mother to have custody of their daughter except for very limited visitation. The mother moved to modify custody to a 50/50 basis. The Alaska Supreme Court concluded the superior court’s custody award was an abuse of discretion because it gave disproportionate weight to grandparent involvement as a factor favoring the father while failing to weigh against the father the statutory best interests factor regarding the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent. Accordingly, the Court reversed the custody award and remanded to the superior court.