Alaska State Divorce Laws

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Alaska State Divorce And Family Law

U.S. Divorce Laws are enacted by each state using their respective legislative process. Once legislation is enacted into law, the family law courts in Alaska have the authority to manage the divorce proceedings, including, spousal and child support payments, custodial rights of parents and the division of community property.

Since state laws are repealed and amended frequently, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer before making any important decisions about your marriage.

As of 2016, all states allow for “no fault” divorce. Yet many courts still factor in the respective parties past behavior when determining the division of community property, debts, custody, support and related issues.

Residency Requirement:

The spouse filing for divorce is required to be a resident of Alaska if the marriage occurred within the state. If the marriage was not solemnized in the state, the residence of the other spouse in this state qualifies as residence to institute divorce proceedings. There is no residency time limit for filing divorce actions.

Same-Sex Divorce: (Recent Update)

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states. It follows, therefore, that the rights and obligations between same-sex divorcing parties are subject to the same dissolution laws of that state. Reference: US Supreme Court Opinion: Obergefell v. Hodges

Grounds For Divorce:
A divorce in Alaska may be granted for any of the following fault grounds:

  1. Failure to consummate the marriage;
  2. Adultery;
  3. Conviction of a felony;
  4. Willful desertion for a period of one year;
  5. Abuse or personal indignities rendering life burdensome;
  6. Incompatibility;
  7. Habitual drunkenness or addiction to drugs;
  8. Incurable mental illness.

Alaska Dissolution Of Marriage:

Alaska permits “no-fault” divorces, or dissolution of marriage, to awarded on the grounds of “incompatibility of temperament” which has caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. In dissolution of marriage, both spouses agree to end the marriage, and are in agreement to all the stipulations of the divorce petition. The petition must include detailed provisions regarding custody and child support, visitation, alimony, division of property, and distribution of debts.

Either parties may separately file for dissolution of marriage if:

  1. Incompatibility of temperament has cause the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.
  2. The petitioning spouse is unable to determine the other spouse’s position regarding dissolution of the marriage, division of property, alimony, payment of debts, custody, child support, etc.
  3. The other spouse cannot be served with process inside or outside the state.

Legal Separation:

A husband or a wife may, separately or jointly, file a complaint in the superior court for a legal separation. A legal separation may be granted no more than once to the same married couple. Unless otherwise provided in the decree, provisions for child custody and visitation, child support, and spousal support included in a decree of legal separation are final orders subject to modification only as provided in.

If the decree of legal separation includes provisions for division of property and debts of the marriage, the decree must state whether the division is an interim or final order. To the extent the division is not a final order, the court shall determine the parties’ respective rights to and responsibilities for property and obligations not finally distributed and as to any property or debts accrued by either party while the order is in effect.

Name of court and title of action/parties: An action for divorce is filed in the Superior Court. If the divorce is based upon grounds of fault, the title of the action initiating the proceeding is a Complaint for Divorce.

If the action is based upon the no-fault grounds permitted in Alaska (“incompatibility of temperament”), the action is entitled a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If the action is based upon grounds of fault, the party filing the action is referred to as the Plaintiff and the other party is the Defendant. If the proceeding is based upon the no-fault grounds, the party filing the action is the Petitioner, the other party is the Respondent.

Mediation:

A party to a divorce action may file a motion requesting mediation for the purpose of achieving a mutually agreeable settlement. The court may also order the parties to participate in mediation if it determines that mediation may result in a more satisfactory settlement between the parties. The court may not order or refer parties to mediation in a divorce proceeding if a protective order issued, unless the victim of the alleged domestic violence agrees to the mediation.

Alimony/Support:

Alimony may be awarded to either party without regard to fault in either lump sum or installment payments, for a limited or indefinite period of time. Factors that the court may consider in determining alimony include:

  1. The length of the marriage and the standard of living established during the marriage.
  2. The age and health of the parties.
  3. The earning capacity of the parties.
  4. The financial condition of the parties.
  5. The conduct of the parties, including whether there has been an unreasonable depletion of marital assets.
  6. The division of property.
  7. Any other relevant factors.

Distribution Of Property:

Alaska is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will divide the marital property between the parties as it deems equitable and just, without regard to fault. Factors the court will consider in dividing the property include:

  1. The length of the marriage.
  2. The age and health of the parties.
  3. The earning capacity of the parties.
  4. The financial condition of the parties.
  5. The conduct of the parties, including whether there has been an 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 with custody of the child, if any.
  7. The circumstances and necessities of each party.
  8. The time and manner of acquisition of the property in question.
  9. The income producing capacity of the property and the value of the property at the time of division.

Child Custody:

The court shall determine custody based upon the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, the court shall consider the following:
The physical, emotional, mental, religious and social needs of the child.

  • .The capability and desire of each parent to meet these needs;
  • 2.The child’s preferences if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference.
  • The love and affection existing between the child and each parent;
  • The desire and ability of each parent to allow an open and loving frequent relationship;
  • Any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect.Evidence of substance abuse.Any other factors the court deems relevant.

Child Support in Alaska:

The court may order either or both parties to pay child support, in either lump sum or periodic payments. The state has established Child Support Guidelines, which sets the presumptive correct amount of child support. Deviation from these guidelines requires a showing that application of the guidelines would result in a unjust result.

Name Change:

In a judgment of divorce, the court may change the name of either party.

ENFORCING CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS – FEDERAL OPTION

Learn about the Federal Office of Child Support and Enforcement:

FIND LOCAL FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT AGENCY NEAR YOU

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS  

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