Alaska Divorce Law Summary

Divorce – State Law Summary – Alaska

Notes: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of the laws of divorce in Alaska, but does contain basic and other procedures.

Residency requirements
Alaska requires that the spouse filing for divorce be a resident of the state. There is no residency time limit for filing of divorce actions. AS 25.24.080

Grounds for divorce

A divorce may be granted for any of the following grounds:

(1) failure to consummate the marriage at the time of the marriage and continuing at the commencement of the action;

(2) adultery;

(3) conviction of a felony;

(4) wilful desertion for a period of one year;

(5) either

(A) cruel and inhuman treatment calculated to impair health or endanger life;

(B) personal indignities rendering life burdensome; or

(C) incompatibility of temperament;

(6) habitual gross drunkenness contracted since marriage and continuing for one year prior to the commencement of the action;

(7) [Repealed, Sec. 68 ch 127 SLA 1974].

(8) incurable mental illness when the spouse has been confined to an institution for a period of at least 18 months immediately preceding the commencement of the action; the status as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill person is not altered in any way by the granting of the divorce;

(9) addiction of either party, subsequent to the marriage, to the habitual use of opium, morphine, cocaine, or a similar drug

 AS 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 as to the payment of obligations incurred jointly in the future.

Either of the 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. AS 25.24.200 to Sec. 25.24.260.

Legal separation
There is no specific provision in the Alaska Statutes that provide for legal separation.

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, 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. AS 25.24.060

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

1. The length of the marriage and the station in life of the parties 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.

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:

1. The physical, emotional, mental, religious and social needs of the child.

2. The capability and desire of each parent to meet these needs.

3. The child’s preferences if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference.

4. The love and affection existing between the child and each parent.

5. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

6. The desire and ability of each parent to allow an open and loving frequent relationship between the child and the other parent.

7. Any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse or child neglect.

8. Evidence of substance abuse.

9. Any other factors the court deems relevant. AS 25.24.150

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, and,

9. The income producing capacity of the property and the value of the property at the time of division. AS 25.24.160.

Child support
The court may order either or both parties to pay child support, in either lump sum or periodic payments. Alaska has established Child Support Guidelines which set the presumptive correct amount of child support. Deviation from these guidelines require a showing that application of the guidelines would result in a unjust result. AS 25.24.160.

Name change
In a judgment of divorce, the court may change the name of either party. AS 25.24.165.


Inside Alaska Divorce Law Summary