Alaska Divorce Laws

Alaska Divorce

In Alaska, the residency requirements stipulate which Superior Court will be in charge of the divorce case. Residency requirements are met by most individuals and only possess a problem for those who have recently moved or who will be moving in the near future. The requirements for filing for divorce include the individual in charge of filing for a divorce needing to be a current resident of Alaska when the papers are filed.

Alaska Divorce LawsIn the case of stationed military personnel for the United States, those who reside in Alaska for thirty days or more are considered to be Alaska state residents. Divorce cases are normally to be filed in the county jurisdiction where the individual resides, according to Alaska Dissolution Statutes 22.10.030.

Residency requirements must be met before a divorce case can be filed because all divorce cases are handled through state law. A majority of divorce cases are filed in the residents’ county. The county clerk’s office’s domestic relations section will be able to relay all the necessary information in accordance with residency requirements.

Filing for divorce in Alaska

The initial document you need to file for when wanting a divorce in Alaska is the “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”. Along with this document, evidence of the reason why the person wishes to terminate the marriage will have to be shown, which has to be under certain conditions.

Generally, when living in Alaska any of the following reasons may be grounds for divorce.

Grounds for Divorce in Alaska

The first step in filing for divorce is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to the Alaska court. This request can only be granted if the grounds for divorce meet the Alaska state standards.

Grounds for divorce are separated into two different categories. The first category is called no-fault-based grounds and holds only one reason for filing: incompatibility. The second category is called fault-based grounds and holds eight other reasons for divorce.

These grounds include the committing of adultery; voluntarily declining to consummate the marriage when the marriage began and the continual decline when divorce proceedings have begun; committing felony offenses; unnecessary and cruel treatment; voluntarily deserting the other individual for one year or more; habits of drunken behavior; drug usage; and confinement in a mental hospital for eighteen months or more due to an untreatable mental illness.

As with the majority of states when applying for a divorce, there are, two main categories and these are fault-based and no-fault-based grounds.

No-fault-based grounds for divorce

There is only one no-fault-based ground, for divorce, and this is incompatibility.

Fault-based grounds

  1. A failure to consummate the marriage at the time of the marriage
  2. Adultery
  3. Conviction of a felony
  4. Desertion for a period of 1 whole year
  5. Cruel or inhuman treatment
  6. Drunkenness which is habitual
  7. Mental illness which is incurable and confinement to a mental facility for 18 months
  8. Addiction to drugs Alaska Dissolution Statutes- Sections: 25.24.200, 25-24-050

When applying for divorce one of the above reasons must be given and of course, it is essential that you understand the grounds and are willing to accept any repercussions.

Divorce Process

When a divorce case is filed, the individual must state the grounds for divorce before a divorce can be dissolved. These grounds must be proven by testimony or evidence. One individual may petition for divorce. Both are not needed to begin the proceedings. However, when a petition is brought forward for incompatibility by both individuals, certain conditions must follow.

When pregnancy or children under the age of eighteen are involved, the individuals must determine custody issues, and whether or not there will be child support payments and visitations. Any property that was acquired during the marriage will also need to be divided along with the possibility of spousal support.

When a divorce case is brought before the court on behalf of one individual, certain requirements must be involved. The individual must show evidence of separation. If the other individual is unwilling to cooperate or has become absent, the petitioning individual has the right to file for dissolution and begin determining child custody, spousal support, child support, property divisions, and child visitation rights. However, filing for marriage dissolution does not come before filing for divorce.

Filing with the Court in Alaska

You must file your Alaska divorce papers in the court located in the County where you presently reside. We will provide the court information in the documents that we send to you, but some of the courts in Alaska are listed below:

Anchorage Superior Court:
825 W. 4th Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-2004 Phone: 907-264-0671

Fairbanks Superior Court:
101 Lacey Street, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: 907-452-9277

If your County court is not listed, the information for your court will be included in the divorce papers we send you.

Child custody issues when divorcing

When making custody choices the court considers many factors with the foremost being what is in the best interests of the child. Therefore, the following may be considered:

  1. The social, physical, mental, emotional, and religious views of the child
  2. How capable each parent will be able to meet the needs
  3. If the child is old enough their views and wishes will be taken into account
  4. The relationship of the child/children with each parent
  5. The amount of time that the child has been in a stable environment
  6. The willingness of each parent to continue a relationship with the other partner
  7. Any evidence of abuse or domestic violence
  8. Evidence of substance abuse that affects the child’s well-being
  9. Any other conditions that the court considers to be pertinent under the Alaska Dissolution Statutes- Sections: 25-24-150, 25.24.090

What you and your spouse want is not relevant unless of course, it reflects on the best interests of the child.

Child support issues

Either or both of the parents may have to pay child support and payments may be made through a trustee which is court-appointed or through a child support enforcement agency. Under the Alaska rules of civil procedure; Rule 90.3 there is a child support guideline. However, there are factors that may deviate from this ruling which are as follows:

  1. An exceptionally large family size
  2. If the child has a significant income
  3. Health expenses or any other extraordinary expenses
  4. Any unusually low expenses
  5. An income that is below the federal poverty level
  6. Any other circumstances which may be declared as being exceptional

Property division when divorcing

Usually in Alaska, property may be divided by the parties with a signed marital settlement agreement. However, if this is not possible then it is down to the Superior court to decide how property is split within the decree of dissolution of marriage.

As Alaska is called an “equitable distribution” state, the court will divide any assets with the following in mind:

  • The first step is to decide which properties are considered marital
  • A monetary value will then be placed on the property
  • Lastly, assets that are considered to be marital will be split equitably, which in the eye of the court means fairly

Property that was acquired during the marriage will be taken into account along with any retirement benefits whether they are joint or separate. The distribution of property is made without any regard to who is at fault.

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