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Alaska Divorce Laws

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Each state has divorce laws covering alimony, property distribution, child support and custody. These laws are complex, but a local Alaska divorce attorney can explain Alaska divorce laws and how you may be affected during Alaska divorce.

For your convenience, the chart below summarizes a few of the key concepts of Alaska's divorce laws:

Alaska State Laws

  • Fault/No-Fault: Both
  • Property Distribution: Equitable
  • ADR Available: Yes
  • Parenting Plan Required: No

Alaska Grounds for Divorce

Alaska divorce courts allow couples to file for divorce under no fault and fault grounds. A couple files for no fault divorce under the grounds of incompatibility.

Alaska divorce laws also accept a number of grounds for fault divorce, including:

  • Adultery
  • Felony conviction
  • Willful desertion for one year
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Habitual drunkeness
  • Drug addiction
  • Incurable mental illness and confinement to a mental facility for 18 months
  • Failing to consummate the marriage

Alaska Residency Requirements

When filing for divorce in Alaska, the filing spouse must be a resident of the state at the time the divorce petition is filed in divorce court. The divorce is usually filed in the county where the filing spouse lives.

If a person serving in a military branch of the United States government has been continually stationed at a military base in the state for at least 30 days, he or she is considered a resident of the state and can file for divorce.

Alaska Divorce Waiting Periods

Under Alaska divorce laws, there isn't a waiting period before filing the divorce petition. As long as the petitioner meets the Alaska residency requirement, he or she can file for divorce at any time.

Once the divorce petition has been filed, there is a 30 day waiting period before any divorce proceedings can continue. State divorce law doesn't require either spouse to wait before remarrying after the divorce is finalized.

Alaska Property Division

When making property division decisions in Alaska divorce, the divorce court follow equitable distribution law. Property is divided by what the Alaska divorce court consider fair and is not necessarily equal.

The Alaska divorce court must fairly allocate the economic effects of the divorce when making the property distribution, considering the following:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Spouses' station in life during the marriage
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Earning capacity of each spouse, including:
    • Educational backgrounds
    • Training
    • Employment skills
    • Work experiences
    • Length of absence from the job market
    • Custodial responsibilities during the marriage
  • Financial condition of each parties, including availability and cost of health insurance
  • Conduct of the couple, including hidden assets or unreasonable depletion of marital property
  • Desire to award the family home to the custodial parent
  • Circumstances and necessities of each spouse
  • Time and manner of acquisition of the property in question
  • Value of the property at the time of division and its income-producing capacity

Alaska Alimony

When determining alimony during divorce, the Alaska divorce court will consider:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Age and health of the spouses
  • Earning capacity of each spouse, including:
    • Educational backgrounds
    • Training
    • Employment skills
    • Work experiences
    • Length of absence from the job market
    • Custodial responsibilities during the marriage
  • Each spouse's financial condition, including availability and cost of health insurance
  • Marital conduct, including if there were hidden assets or unreasonable depletion of marital property
  • Property distribution
  • Other relevant factors

Alaska Child Custody

Alaska divorce courts consider certain factors specified by state divorce laws to determine child custody, including:

  • Physical, emotional, mental, religious and social needs of the child
  • Capability and desire of each parent to meet those needs
  • Child's preference if the child is mature enough to give an opinion
  • Love and affection between the child and each parent
  • Time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desire to maintain it
  • Desire and ability of each parent to allow a relationship between the child and other parent
  • Evidence of domestic violence, child abuse or child neglect in the household where custody is proposed
  • History of violence between the parents
  • Evidence of substance abuse by either parent or other members of the household that affect the child's well-being
  • Other relevant factors

Alaska Grandparent Visitation

Visitation rights for grandparents isn't automatically granted in Alaska, but state divorce laws allow grandparents to petition for child visitation. The Alaska divorce court will grant grandparent visitation if it's considered to be in the best interest of the child.

If the child has been adopted, any grandparent visitation rights are terminated unless the adoption decree specifically provides for visitation between the child and his or her natural grandparents.

Alaska Child Support

When determining child support in an Alaska divorce, the divorce court uses the percentage of income formula. This calculation determines the amount as a percentage of the income of the party ordered to pay child support.

Under state divorce laws, child support is calculated by multiplying the adjusted annual income of the noncustodial parent by a specified percentage. The percentage used to calculate a child support award is:

  • 20% for one child
  • 27% for two children
  • 33% for three children
  • An extra 3% for each additional child

There are circumstances in the divorce case that may encourage the Alaska divorce court to deviate from the set formula. These factors include:

  • Especially large family
  • Significant income of the child
  • Health or extraordinary expenses
  • Unusually low expenses
  • Supporting parent has income below Federal poverty level
  • Other unusual circumstances

If parents have an income more than $72,000, the factors above don't warrant deviation from the formula; however, the Alaska divorce court will consider the following:

  • An increased award is just and proper
  • Needs of the children
  • Standard of living of the children
  • Extent that the child's standard of living should be reflective of the parent's ability to pay

Alaska Child Support Enforcement

After the divorce court assigns Alaska child support, child support enforcement methods may need to be used to help custodial parents collect unpaid child support. If a supporting parent defaults on child support payments, the Alaska divorce court uses the following child support enforcement tactics:

  • Initiation of administrative enforcement
  • Garnishment of wages
  • Liens on property
  • Reporting of arrears to credit bureaus and lending institutions
  • Denial, revocation or limitations on passports
  • Garnishment of accounts with financial institutions

Please understand that this information is provided for illustration purposes only and is not legal advice. If you would like more information about filing for divorce, speak to a Alaska divorce attorney today by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out an Alaska divorce case review form.

Case Evaluation

The above synopsis of Alaska divorce laws is by no means all-inclusive and has been adapted from applicable state laws. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these divorce laws, please contact a local Alaska divorce lawyer in your area.

This "Alaska Divorce Laws" page was last updated July 2009.

Note: Keep in mind that all divorce laws are complex. If you need legal divorce advice or want to fully understand how these laws affect you, please speak with a local divorce attorney.