Alaska Divorce Law

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By DivorcedMoms, Senior Editor - September 24, 2013 - Updated September 25, 2013

Alaska.jpgResidency Requirements

In Alaska the spouse filing for divorce must be a resident. No residency time limit is specified. Most states have a set limit of time you must have lived in the state before being eligible to file for a divorce. In Alaska the only requirement is that you are living in the state with the intentions of remaining in the state.

Another odd factor in filing for divorce in Alaska; if you aren’t a resident of the state but your spouse is, you can file for a divorce in the state.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Alaska

No-Fault Divorce:

·         Incompatibility of temperament which has caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.

For General or Fault Based Divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Incurable mental illness and confinement for 18 months
  • Drug abuse
  • Failure to consummate marriage
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Willful desertion of over 1 year
  • Cruel and/or inhuman treatment
  • Personal indignities
  • Habitual drunkenness

Divorce Mediation Requirements in Alaska:

Either spouse may request mediation of an attempt to reach a divorce settlement. If no request is made, the judge may order the spouses to submit to mediation if it is felt that a more satisfactory settlement may be achieved. The court will appoint a mediator. In other words, mediation is not a requirement to obtaining a divorce but can be ordered by the judge before a divorce is granted.


Alimony/Spousal Support in Alaska:

Maintenance may be awarded to either spouse for support. The award may be made as a lump-sum or may be ordered paid in installments. Any fault of the spouses may not be taken into account. Factors considered are:

  •  Length of marriage.
  • Position in life of the parties during marriage.
  • The age and health of the parties.
  • The earning capacity of each spouse.
  • The financial condition of each spouse.
  • The parties conduct regarding their assets.
  • The division of the spouse’s property.
  • All other relevant factors.

Child Custody in Alaska:

Custody is determined with the best interests of the child in mind. Factors to be considered are:

  1. The capability and desire of each parent to meet the child’s needs.
  2. the physical, emotional, mental, religious, and social needs of the child.
  3. The preference of the child (if the child is of sufficient age and capacity).
  4. The love and affection between the child and each parent.
  5. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  6. The desire and ability of each parent to allow an open and loving frequent relationship between the child and the other parent.
  7. Any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, or spousal abuse.
  8. Any evidence of substance abuse that affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child.

Neither parent is considered to be entitled to custody. Meaning, each parents go into the divorce process with equal legal rights to the children.

Joint/shared custody may be awarded, if it is in the best interests of the child. For shared custody to be awarded, the court considers the following factors:

  • The child’s needs and education.
  • Any special needs of the child that may be better met by one parent.
  • Any findings of a neutral mediator.
  • The optimal time for the child to be with each parent.
  • The physical proximity of the parents as it relates to where the child will reside and where the child will attend school.
  • The advantage of keeping the child in the community where he or she presently resides.
  • Whether shared custody will promote more frequent or continuing contact between the child and the parents.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The fitness and suitability of each of the parents (including any evidence of substance abuse).
  • Any history of violence by either parent.
  • The preference of the child (if the child is of sufficient age and capacity).
  • The stability of the home of each parent.
  • Any other relevant factors.

Child Support in Alaska:

Either or both parents may be ordered to provide child support. Child support payments may be ordered paid to a court-appointed trustee or through the state child support enforcement agency. There are official Child Support Guidelines contained in Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure; Rule 90.3. These guidelines are presumed to be correct unless there is a showing that the amount would be manifestly unjust under the particular circumstances in a case. Factors for deviation from the guidelines are:

  • Especially large family size.
  • Significant income of the child.
  • Health or other extraordinary expenses.
  • Unusually low expenses.
  • The parent with the child support obligation has an income below Federal poverty level.
  • Any other unusual circumstances.

For parents with income over $72,000, the above 6 factors do not apply. In those instances, the factors are:

  • That an increased award is just and proper.
  • The needs of the children.
  • The standard of living of the children.
  • The extent to which the standard of living of the children should be reflective of the parent’s ability to pay.

Property Distribution in Alaska:

Alaska is an “equitable distribution” state. Both joint and separate property which has been acquired during the marriage will be divided in a “just” manner. Any fault of the spouses shall not be taken into account. If necessary, to achieve a fair result in a “fault-based” divorce action, property acquired before the marriage may be divided also. In a “no-fault” dissolution of marriage action, property acquired prior to the marriage will not be divided unless the spouses agree or it is in the best interests of any children to do so. Gifts and inheritances are also subject to division by the court. Factors considered are:

  • Length of marriage.
  • Position in life of the parties during marriage.
  • The age and health of the parties.
  • The earning capacity of each spouse.
  • The financial condition of each spouse.
  • The parties’ conduct regarding their assets.
  • The desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse with primary physical custody of children.
  • The time and manner of acquisition of their property.
  • The income-producing capacity of the property and its value.
  • All other relevant factors.

Non-monetary contributions to the marriage (for example: home-making) are also considered. If property is considered “community property” under a community property agreement or trust under Alaska Statutes, Section 34.77, the court may divide such property in a just and equitable manner based on all factors, including:

  • The nature and extent of the community property.
  • The nature and extent of the spouse’s separate property.
  • The duration of the marriage.

Disclaimer: The divorce law information provided on Divorced Moms is for informational purposes only not for legal advice purposes. This information is general in nature. Each jurisdiction has specific code and court procedures. A local divorce attorney is your best source for how divorce is treated in your jurisdiction. Before making any legal decisions we encourage you to consult with a local attorney…do not make decisions based on general state divorce law.

 

 

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