Alaska Divorce Laws
The state of Alaska has unique divorce laws for people who wish to terminate their marriage.
We are providing this online divorce information to you as an easy divorce reference guide to help you while you are doing your own divorce. This information (and much more) is available inside your personal 3StepDivorce account area in order to help you understand how Alaska addresses the most important issues in the divorce process and certain elements throughout your divorce forms.
The following overview of Alaska divorce laws will help you understand the filing procedure and other primary issues concerning your divorce. Please keep in mind that our Alaska online divorce service and support staff will make the process easy for you from start to finish. We take the difficulty out of doing your own divorce.
Residency Requirements: In order to file for a divorce in Alaska, you or your spouse must meet the strict residency requirements. These requirements permit the court to have jurisdiction of your case, resulting in allowing you to use their judicial system. These requirements are only a concern for spouses who have recently relocated or plan to relocate in the near future. They are as follows:
The spouse who is filing for the dissolution of marriage must be a resident of the state of Alaska at the time of filing.
Any person who is serving in a military branch of the United States Government who has been continuously stationed at a military base or installation in the state of Alaska for at least 30 days is considered a resident of the state.
The divorce is typically filed with in county in which the filing spouse lives. (Alaska Dissolution Statutes - Sections: 22.10.030, 25-24-080, 25.24.090)
No-Fault Grounds: Most uncontested divorce cases are filed according to a "no-fault" ground. We are using the term "no-fault" in a generic fashion by labeling all grounds that do not actually declare a "fault" as "no-fault". In the state of Alaska the "no-fault" grounds are as follows:
Filing Party Name: The Petitioner or Plaintiff. This is the spouse who is recognized as the initiator of the divorce and is the one who actually files the Petition for Dissolution with the county court.
Non-Filing Party Name: The Respondent or Defendant. This spouse plays a lesser role in an uncontested divorce versus a contested divorce. He or she will be required to sign and/or respond in a timely fashion to the documents filed by his or her spouse.
Family Law or Domestic Relations Court: Superior Court for the State of Alaska; #__________ Judicial District. All divorce cases in the state of Alaska are facilitated through this court for that particular county.
Clerk's Name: All correspondence with a Alaska clerk of the court should formally address him or her as follows: County Clerk's Office of the Superior Court.
Property and Debt Division: Alaska is considered an "equitable distribution" state. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on how the marital property will be divided, the court shall use a three step process. First, it will determine what property is marital. Second, it will put a value on the marital property. Third, it will divide the marital property in an equitable fashion, which is not necessarily equal, but rather what is considered to be fair.
If the parties cannot agree otherwise, the court will divide the marital property of the spouses, including retirement benefits, whether joint or separate, acquired only during marriage, in a just manner and without regard to which of the parties is in fault; however, the division of property must fairly allocate the economic effect of dissolution of marriage by being based on consideration of the following factors: (1) the length of the marriage and station in life of the parties during the marriage; (2) the age and health condition of the parties; (3) the earning capacity of the parties, including their educational backgrounds, training, employment skills, work experiences, length of absence from the job market, and custodial responsibilities for children during the marriage; (4) the financial condition of the parties, including the availability and cost of health or medical insurance; (5) the conduct of the parties, including whether there has been unreasonable depletion of marital assets; (6) the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to live in it for a reasonable period of time, to the party who has primary physical custody of children; (7) the necessities of each party; (8) the time and manner of acquisition of the property in question; and (9) the income-producing capacity of the property and the value of the property at the time of division. (Alaska Dissolution Statutes- Sections: 25-24-160, 25.24.230)
Changing Name: Either spouse may change his or her name to a prior name when filing for a dissolution of marriage. If a party seeks a change of name to a name other than a prior name, the court shall set a date for hearing not less than 40 days after filing of the action.
Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony: Determining the amount of spousal support, if any, is not as objective as determining child support. Spousal support, whether permanent or temporary, is typically decided on a case-by-case basis, because it is very likely that unique circumstances and factors regarding the marriage and the property award will play a significant role in allowing the court to arrive at the appropriate amount.
If the parties are not in agreement, the court may order maintenace for a limited or indefinite period of time, in gross or in installments, as may be just and necessary without regard to which of the parties is in fault; an award of maintenance must fairly allocate the economic effect of dissolution of marriage by being based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) the length of the marriage and station in life of the parties during the marriage; (2) the age and health of the parties; (3) the earning capacity of the parties, including their educational backgrounds, training, employment skills, work experiences, length of absence from the job market, and custodial responsibilities for children during the marriage; (4) the financial condition of the parties, including the availability and cost of health insurance; (5) the marital conduct of the parties, including whether there has been unreasonable depletion of marital assets; (6) the distribution of property and (7) other factors the court determines to be relevant in each individual case. (Alaska Dissolution Statutes- Sections: 25-24-165, 25.24.230)
Custody and Visitation: Shared or joint child custody has become more and more popular with the Alaska courts. If you and your spouse request to have joint or shared "legal" custody, it will almost always be granted. As for joint or shared "physical" custody, the court will examine this a bit more closely to determine if it is a realistic choice that would result in an arrangement that is best for the children.
The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child the court shall consider the following: (a) the physical, emotional, mental, religious, and social needs of the child; (b) the capability and desire of each parent to meet these needs; (c) the child's wishes if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference; (d) the relationship each child has with each parent; (e) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity; (f) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child, except that the court may not consider this willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in domestic violence against the parent or a child, and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either the parent or the child; (g) any evidence of domestic violence or abuse (h) evidence that substance abuse by either parent or other members of the household directly affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child; (i) other factors that the court considers pertinent. (Alaska Dissolution Statutes- Sections: 25-24-150, 25.24.090)
Determining Child Support: The basis for determining a monthly support amount is best achieved by referring to the Alaska child support worksheet. The worksheet utilizes the child support guidelines that are defined by state law. The court will use this same worksheet as a building block for determining the support obligation, that is if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on this issue.
Either parent may be ordered to pay child support. The payments are typically made through the Child Support Enforcement Agency. If the parties are not in agreement to the amount of child support to be paid, the court with apply the state support guidelines. These guidelines will are presumed to be correct, unless the court believes the amount to be unjust due to unusual circumstances. The court will deviate from the support amount produced by the guidelines by considering the following factors: the size of the family; income of the child; health of the child; expenses; income level; special needs of the child; standard of living the child is accustomed to; and the parent's ability to pay. (Alaska Dissolution Statutes- Sections: 25-24-160, 25.27.110)
Copyright Notice: These Alaska divorce laws above are copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.
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