Alaska Divorce & Separation
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While separations and divorces are common in every state, each state has its own laws and rules governing the process. If you are considering separation or divorce in Alaska, you might have questions about the specific divorce laws in Alaska. What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Alaska? Is mediation a requirement before you can get an Alaska divorce? What is the law on Alaska annulments? Find the answers to your Alaska divorce questions here.
Alaska Legal Separation:
Legal separations are allowed in Alaska, and are granted on the same grounds as divorces (see “Grounds for Divorce” below). Nearly all issues resolved in divorce can be resolved via separate maintenance agreements in separation as well.
Grounds for Divorce/Fault – No Fault:
Alaska has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. For no-fault divorces, the parties need only show there has been an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” for the divorce to be recognized. Fault-based divorces, however, require much more specific grounds for divorce, such as: adultery, one party’s “intolerable behavior,” abandonment for more than six months, both parties agreeing to the dissolution of the marriage and living separate and apart for more than one year, or both parties having lived separate and apart for more than two years.
Residency/Where to File for Divorce:
To file for divorce, either party must be a resident of the state at the time of filing. The divorce petition (called the action for dissolution) must be filed in the local court with jurisdiction over the county in which either party resides.
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
Joint petitions may be filed in which both parties are referred to as “co-petitioners” rather than “petitioner” and “respondent.” Some counties in Alaska have also allowed settlements and pre-printed forms, all of which allows for a faster and easier marriage dissolution. See the local court clerk for details and more information.
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Divorce Mediation in Alaska:
Each party to a divorce action in Alaska has the right to request a settlement mediation, as long as 30 days or less have passed since the initial filing of the complaint or cross-complaint. For marriages with children, the court has the right to order a reconciliation conference and/or counseling for the children, which would likely involve the services of a well-trained, court-appointed mediator. A mediation session might also be called for if there are issues that could be resolved and agreed upon amicably through a conference rather than forcing the parties, the children, and the oft-backlogged court system to suffer unnecessarily through litigation.
An annulment is a court declaration that your marriage is legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with, for reasons including: fraud, duress, a party’s minor status, consanguinity, and in some cases the failure to consummate the marriage (by the time of the action) is sufficient for a judge to void the marriage.
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