Overview of Divorce in Alaska

The following is an overview of divorce in Alaska. Divorce in Alaska may be filed as either fault or no fault, with property divided equitably, recourse to name change available, mediation available, and spouse and child support determined by a number of factors.

Residency and Filing Requirements

The spouse filing for dissolution of marriage in Alaska must be a resident of the state at the time of filing. Military personnel stationed in Alaska for 30 or more days are considered residents for this purpose.

Grounds for Filing

Dissolutions of marriage in Alaska may be filed as either fault or no-fault. A no-fault dissolution is granted on the grounds of incompatibility of temperament. A fault dissolution is granted for failure to consummate the marriage, adultery, conviction of a felony, willful desertion for a period of one year, cruel and inhuman treatment, habitual gross drunkenness, incurable mental illness resulting in 18 consecutive months’ institutionalization prior to the filing, or addiction to morphine, opium, cocaine or a similar drug.

Property Distribution

Alaska is an "equitable distribution" state. Marital property shall be divided equitably. Note an equitable division is a fair division albeit not necessarily an equal one. The court will encourage the spouses to agree on an equitable division and otherwise will intercede, determining the property award based on the length of the marriage, age and health of both parties, earning capacity of both parties, financial condition of both parties, conduct of the parties, the desirability of awarding the home to the party who has primary custody of the children and other factors.

Restoration or Name Change

Either spouse may change their name to a prior name when filing for dissolution of marriage in Alaska. If either party wishes to change their name to another name they must have a court hearing within 40 days of filing the action. In such a case, notice of the name change will be published weekly for four weeks in a newspaper within the judicial district.

Spousal Support

Not all cases in Alaska will entail one spouse supporting the other. Permanent or temporary financial obligations are determined on a case-by-case basis as agreed to by both parties or at the discretion of the court. In the latter case, the court may order maintenance for a limited or unlimited time, in gross or installments, as may be necessary, without regard to which of the parties is at fault, and will consider various factors in determining the award.

Counseling or Mediation Requirements

Either spouse may request to attempt to reach a settlement through mediation to avoid having the court determine asset division and support.

Child Custody and Support

If the parents cannot agree regarding issues involving children, the court will establish custody at its discretion, in accordance with the best interests of the child.

Alaska awards child support based on the Percentage of Income formula, which determines support as a percentage of the income of the non-custodial parent.

For more information about your specific case, consult with a divorce lawyer near you.

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