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Alaska Divorce Laws – What You Need to Know!

Getting divorced is not usually a pleasant affair. It can be acrimonious, leading to lengthy disagreements and arguments over many of the different topics that must be addressed. In Alaska, couples have two options when it comes to ending their marriage. The first is a dissolution; the second is a divorce.

Understanding the difference between the two is important. If you and your spouse agree on the various issues that affect your divorce, then a dissolution of marriage is possible. If the two of you are not in agreement, then one spouse may file for divorce.

What Topics Must a Couple Agree on to File for Dissolution in Alaska?

In order to file for dissolution of your marriage, you and your spouse must agree on all aspects of the following:

  • Ending the marriage
  • Dividing debt and property
  • Child custody, including physical and legal custody as well as visitation
  • Child support
  • Disestablishing paternity
  • Taking back of a previous name

Agreeing on all aspects of a divorce is not possible for some couples. This is often true when it comes to child custody and support matters; however, filing for a dissolution of marriage can go more quickly than fighting out the various particulars in court.

A couple that wants to establish paternity and agrees on the other areas listed above may file for an uncontested divorce.

Can Mediation Help a Couple Reach an Agreement in Divorce?

Mediation and settlement hearings can be used to find resolution in a divorce proceeding. Mediation can be used to help couples reach agreements in child custody matters. It is available in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Palmer, Juneau, Homer, Kinea, Sitka and Ketchikan to parents that make a combine annual income of less than $100,000. The purpose of the mediator is to provide answers to concerns about visitation and to help the couple establish an acceptable parenting plan.

A settlement hearing is where the couple and each spouse’s attorneys meet with a judge to determine ways that the two of you might come to an agreement. The role of the judge is not to make decisions, but to facilitate an agreement. The judge will listen to both sides and make comments on whether what each side wants is reasonable and fair. The judge will indicate how the issues might be decided if the matter goes before the court and strongly encourages both sides to reach an agreement.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Dissolution or Divorce Finalized

There is a 30-day waiting period, whether you file for dissolution or divorce. If agreements can be reached fairly soon after the paperwork is filed, a divorce case could be over in under two months. However, the longer the couple does not agree on different areas of the divorce, the longer it will take for the divorce to be finalized.

Are There Any Residency Requirements for Divorce in Alaska?

There are residency requirements for filing for divorce or dissolution in Alaska. As long as either you or your spouse is an Alaska resident and plan on staying one, the divorce or dissolution may proceed. For military members stationed in Alaska for at least 30 days, it is best to speak with an attorney about where to file for divorce. Military members generally have three options for filing for divorce:

  • The military member can file in the state where he or she is stationed.
  • The military member can file in the state where his or her spouse lives.
  • The military member can file in the state that he or she claims as his or her legal residency and plans to live after separating from the military.

Military members who are considering divorce should consult with an attorney to ensure that they are filing in the state that is most beneficial concerning property division, child custody and more.

Is an Attorney Required to File for Dissolution or Divorce in Alaska?

While an attorney is not required, it is best to at least speak with one about your options when ending your marriage.

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