Divorce in Alaska
Residency and Filing Needs
When it comes to divorce in Alaska, there are aspects in regards to the proceedings that you will need to know and understand. The spouse intending to file will be called the ‘Plaintiff’ or ‘Petitioner.’ The other spouse is known as the ‘Defendant’ or ‘Respondent’ in the proceeding.
Upon the petitioning for divorce, only one requirement in the state of Alaska needs to be met before filing.
• Plaintiff must be a bona fide resident of the state of Alaska.
Reasons for Divorce in Alaska
There are many reasons for it, but for the most part the court separates it all into two specific categories:
• No-Fault Divorce
• Fault Divorce
“No-Fault” basically can mean one thing –
1) Both Parties to the Marriage Keep Fighting or Arguing and See No Reason to Continue
“Fault” divorce in Alaska, however, is an entirely different situation.
Grounds for that divorce can include one or more of these as determined by a court of law:
• Physical Harm by One Party Toward the Other
• Felony Conviction
• Failure to Consummate Marriage
• Alcohol Abuse
• Drug Abuse
• Hospitalization Due to Mental Condition and/or Illness for at Least 18 Months
• If Wife Became Pregnant Without Husband Knowing (“Fault” Divorce Awarded to Husband)
• Physical Incapacitation
“No-Fault” and “Fault” divorces each have different stipulations that can possibly change the outcome of custody, child support, and/or spousal support.
The Definition of “Legal Separation” Versus “Divorce”
“Legal separation,” too, is explained as something outside the divorce realm, generally usually is decided before a divorce petition. But what’s the difference?
In a legal separation, both spouses actually agree to ‘separate,’ but without dissolution of marriage. Obvious reasons exist, such as retaining benefits like health insurance obtained during a marriage.
Generally speaking, a legal separation also can – and most likely does – lead to an actual divorce petition. Dissolution of marriage then occurs and all benefits and assets obtained through marriage then become null and void. Standards from within the state in regards to child custody, parenting time, and support apply.
The Primary Documents For a Divorce in Alaska
They are listed as follows:
• Shared Child Support Worksheet
• Appearance and Waiver of Notice of Hearing
• Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
• And Decree of Dissolution of Marriage
Whenever property distribution is discussed in the state of Alaska, the standard for divorce in Alaska revolves around something called “equitable distribution.” “Equitable distribution” simply means the ‘equitable’ division of assets from the marriage – everything from a house to furniture to even a cell phone. Of course, often this doesn’t mean that the ‘equitable’ division of assets will actually be equal in value. It stresses fairness more than anything else. Typically it’s almost impossible to completely split assets equally in value for any case, therefore the standard of “equitable distribution” is necessary.
It is stated clearly that the court may encourage both parties to mutually agree on a settlement for property distribution, one that supports fairness on both parties without regard to value. If, however, there’s no agreement, the decision will be made by the court to rectify the situation no matter what the wishes are between both parties.
Additionally, upon the final judgment of dissolution of marriage, the court may also award the wife her former or maiden name.
Divorce in Alaska : On the Subject of Spousal Support
There may only be a relevancy for this particular issue if the court sees a need for it and either party establishes a belief that such a need must be addressed – and the need may either be temporary, or even permanent. Each case ends up being different, and there’s no way to know whether or not any spouse deserves alimony unless several factors are met – such as disability, financial stability, etc. etc.
Divorce in Alaska : Dealing With Child Custody
Child custody is a tense subject for any couple considering divorce in Alaska for several reasons. One, there are several kinds of custody to consider:
• Joint Physical Custody
• Sole Physical Custody
• Joint Legal Custody
• Sole Legal Custody
“Joint Physical Custody” involves the sharing of custody in regards to the child(ren) and their physical placement: in general, that would either be the mother’s home, or the father’s home. The child or children actually retain two addresses until they’re 18. Both parties share the same physical responsibility of taking care of the child or children or child’s or children’s education.
“Sole Physical Custody” revolves around the fact that only one party is awarded physical custody of the child or children while the other party honors “Visitation Rights,” a set schedule when the non-custodial parent can see the child or children for a certain number of hours for a certain number of days during the week solely devoted to parenting time.
“Sole Legal Custody” typically means the decisions made for the child in terms of long-term decisions, such as schooling, health, lifestyle, all the aspects of parenting outside of the physical realm that is normally associated with ‘physical custody.’ Sole legal custody is when only one parent is rewarded the right to exercise this legal responsibility for the child.
“Joint Legal Custody” is like sole legal custody except for the fact that both parents share that same legal responsibility for the child or children and must co-exist with such responsibilities in a peaceful manner.
Divorce in Alaska : How to Determine Child Support If Necessary
Except in extreme and unusual cases, the non-custodial party will always be ordered to pay child support. For the state of Alaska, the Percentage of Income Formula is used to figure out the amount. By combining W2’s and other worksheets, an amount is determined that would best suit the needs of the child(ren) without unfavorable financial problems on the non-custodial party.
Generally speaking, both parties may agree to an amount enforced by the Child Support Enforcement Agency. But in the event that a Plaintiff and Defendant don’t, the court may utilize state support guidelines to arrive to a decision as to how much support is necessary for the child(ren).