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Alaska Divorce Laws

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Alaska Divorce Laws

Residency requirement:

Alaska requires that the spouse filing for divorce be a resident of the state. If the marriage was not solemnized in the state, the residence of the other spouse in this state inures to the plaintiff's benefit and the action may be instituted if the other spouse is at the time of its commencement qualified as to residence to institute a similar action. There is no residency time limit for filing divorce actions. [Based on Alaska Statutes 25.24.080 and AS 25.24.090]

Grounds for divorce:

A decree of divorce based upon the fault of one of the parties may be granted in Alaska for any of the following grounds:

  1. Failure to consummate the marriage.
  2. Adultery.
  3. Conviction of a felony.
  4. Willful desertion for a period of one year.
  5. Cruel and inhuman treatment.
  6. Personal indignities rendering life burdensome.
  7. Incompatibility of temperament.
  8. Habitual drunkenness or addiction to drugs.
  9. Incurable mental illness. [Based on Alaska Statutes 25.24.050]

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. The petition must include detailed provisions regarding custody and child support, visitation, alimony and division of property. The spouses may jointly file for dissolution of marriage if:

  1. Incompatibility of temperament has caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.
  2. If there are unmarried children of the marriage under the age of nineteen (19) or the wife is pregnant, all issues regarding custody, support and visitation have been settled.
  3. The spouses have agreed to the distribution of all real and personal marital property and,
  4. The parties have reached an agreement regarding the payment of all unpaid obligations incurred by either or both of them, and for the payment of obligations incurred jointly in the future.

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.

A spouse personally served may execute an Appearance and Waiver, thereby dispensing with the need for that spouse to attend the hearing. [Based on Alaska Statutes 25.24.200-260].

Legal separation:

Alaska recognizes legal separation. A decree of legal separation does not restore the parties to the status of unmarried persons. A decree of legal separation modifies the parties' rights and responsibilities as married persons only to the extent specified in the decree of 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 [AS 25.20.110 and AS 25.24.170]. 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. [Based on Alaska Statutes 25.24.460, 25.24.400, and 25.24.450]

Name of court and title of action/parties:

An action for divorce in Alaska 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, while the title of the action granting the divorce is referred to as the Judgement of 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, and the title of the action granting the divorce is referred to as the Decree of 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, and the other party is the Respondent.

Mediation:

Under most circumstances, a party to a divorce action may file a motion requesting mediation for the purpose of achieving a mutually agreeable settlement. The court on its own motion may order the parties to participate in mediation if it determines that mediation may result in a more satisfactory settlement between the parties. [Based on Alaska Statutes 25.24.060]

Alimony/support:

Alimony may be awarded to either party without regard to fault in either lump sum or installment payments in Alaska. Factors the court may consider in determining alimony include:

  • The length of the marriage and the station in life of the parties during the marriage.
  • The age and health of the parties.
  • The earning capacity of the parties.
  • The financial condition of the parties.
  • The conduct of the parties, including whether there has been an unreasonable depletion of marital assets.
  • The division of property.
  • Any other relevant factors. [Based on Alaska Statutes 25.24.160]

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