We know that filing for divorce can be an intimidating process. It’s easy to make mistakes along the way, and those mistakes can be costly. The best thing you can do to avoid mistakes is make sure that you’re prepared with all of the necessary information as early on as possible.
Here are some of the important things to know as part of filing for a divorce in Alaska.
- What Information Should I Gather to Prep for Divorce in Alaska?
- Determining Which Divorce Process to Use
- What Forms Do I Need?
- How Do I File My Forms?
- How Do I Serve My Forms on My Spouse?
- What are the Steps for Getting a Divorce After I’ve Filed?
- FAQs About Getting a Divorce in Alaska
What Information Should I Gather to Prep for Divorce in Alaska?
The more organized and thorough you are at the outset of a divorce, the smoother your case will be. Pulling together the information you’ll need to make your best case can take quite a while, so it’s best to start early.
You may even want to start gather important documents before you let your spouse know of your intentions. It’s not uncommon for a spouse to become defensive or reticent once you let them know that you want a divorce.
Determining Which Divorce Process to Use
You have several possible options when it comes to divorce. Which process you use is driven in large part by how well you and your spouse can work together to accomplish a mutual goal.
It’s best to remember that the more cooperation you have, the quicker, easier and less expensive the process will be.
To see what those options are, take a look at our article “What Are the Types of Divorce?” This will give you a good overview on how to move forward.
What Forms Do I Need?
Depending on the nature of your divorce, there are several possible forms you will need to file.
The Alaska Court System has a complete list of these forms that you can access here.
How Do I File My Forms?
Once your forms are complete, a divorce is typically filed at the local Superior court in the county in which the filing spouse lives. You will need to pay a filing fee when you submit your paperwork unless you are able to obtain a fee waiver.
How Do I Serve My Forms on My Spouse?
After your forms have been filed with the court, you must notify your spouse of your intention to divorce them by completing service of process. This entails delivering a copy of the legal document to the other person.
You must complete service immediately after filing with the court. If you don’t complete this task within 120 days of filing, your case will be closed.
If your spouse is represented by a lawyer, serve all documents at the lawyer’s office or to the lawyer’s mailing address. Do not send copies to the opposing party if he or she is represented.
If the opposing party is representing themselves, serve at their home address.
You must either serve by certified mail/restricted delivery/return receipt or by hiring a process server. You cannot serve the summons and complaint by hand delivery or first class mail.
When serving by certified mail, you’ll need to keep a green card to show you served the opposing party.
If you have to hire a process server because your spouse won’t sign for the certified mail, expect to pay up to $65. You can find a statewide list of authorized process servers on the Alaska Court Systems website.
You must tell the judge in writing how and when you gave a copy to the other side. This is called a certificate of service.
After you have attempted to find the other party but have not been able to locate them, you must file a request with the court asking for permission to serve the opposing party by posting to the court’s legal notice website or by another method that you think will notify the opposing party about the case.
There are also special instructions for serving someone in a foreign country, the military, or jail.
What are the Steps for Getting a Divorce After I’ve Filed?
As you file paperwork with the court, you must complete proof of service by having the paperwork legally served on your spouse as outlined above.
You will submit an affidavit with the court to verify that this important step has been completed.
Your spouse will then have 20 days to file an answer with the court. If they don’t comply, you can seek a default judgment.
If your divorce is uncontested, you will have a hearing scheduled in front of a judge. The judge will review your proposed settlement and sign a final dissolution if all is in order.
If you have a contested divorce, you may be able to go through mediation or collaboration to resolve your differences. When these approaches don’t work, you will eventually have to go to trial. You will present evidence and witnesses to support your claims, and a judge will rule on various parts of your divorce to create a final settlement.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Divorce Discovery
FAQs About Getting a Divorce in Alaska
How much does it cost to file for a divorce?
Filing fees for a dissolution or a divorce in Alaska are $250.
Read More: How Much Does Divorce Cost?
Can divorce fees be waived?
If you can’t afford to pay the filing fee, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. To ask the judge to waive your fees, you submit an Exemption From the Payment of Fees. This will be filed with your complaint when you open your case.
The court will hold on to your complaint until after the judge rules on the waiver. If it is granted, the clerk will fill out the bottom half of your summons.
Can I file for divorce online?
No. You can work with an online service or an attorney through email in advance but you will need to physically file documents at your local courthouse to start the process.
The best site to fill out divorce paperwork online is 3 Step Divorce, the leading brand in online divorce.
Can I file for divorce without a lawyer?
Yes. You do not need an attorney in Alaska to handle your divorce case. This works well in an uncontested divorce when you and your spouse agree on all issues prior to filing.
What are the residency requirements for getting a divorce?
The spouse who is filing for the dissolution of marriage must be a resident of the state of Alaska at the time of filing. You are considered a resident if you intend to stay in Alaska as your permanent residence. If your spouse lives in Alaska with the intention to stay permanently in Alaska you can file for divorce in Alaska.
If you have children, and you file in Alaska, the children must live in Alaska for 6 months for the court to have jurisdiction over the divorce and rule on the divorce with children.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Alaska?
With an uncontested divorce, after you file paperwork, your spouse has 20 days to file an answer with the court. If both of you agree on terms for a settlement, then it takes anywhere from 30 to 90 for a brief hearing to be scheduled in front of a judge. If the judge approves the settlement, a final decree will be signed and you will be divorced.
When you go through mediation or a collaborative divorce, the process can take several months, depending on the complexity of your issues and how quickly you can resolve them.
Litigated divorces, especially those with numerous issues or a high level of disagreement can easily last for a year or longer.
Can I file for divorce while I’m pregnant?
You can file for divorce while pregnant in Alaska, but state law says that if you are pregnant during marriage that your husband is legally the father of the child.
If you want to challenge this, you must wait until the baby is born to clearly establish paternity, perhaps through a DNA test. If paternity is not established, the husband will remain the legal father, and will still be legally responsible for the child.
At that time, you will also settle custody, visitation and child support issues as well.
If I’m in the military, how does that affect filing for divorce?
If you or your spouse are in the armed forces, you can get a divorce in Alaska if you have been stationed in-state for at least 30 days prior to filing.
In general, active duty military members do have three choices for venue when filing for divorce:
- The state where the military member is stationed
- The state where the military spouse resides
- The state where the military member claims legal residency (This may be the state where he/she is originally from or the state where he/she plans to reside after discharge or retirement).
Either spouse can file for divorce in any of the three locations, but they must follow the divorce laws, and procedures in the state where they file.
While many issues are handled the same as they are in civilian divorces, there are a few notable differences.
For example, child custody and visitation issues can be more complicated due to relocation or deployment orders. Child support is determined the same way as it is for civilian cases, using a Flat Percentage of Income Model.
For example, a military spouse can request a delay in divorce proceedings so that his or her military duties are not impacted. Legal action can be delayed when he or she is on active duty plus 60 days beyond the end of his or her enlistment.
The USFSPA also governs how military pensions are disbursed and whether or not a former military spouse has full medical and commissary privileges.
For this to happen, the former spouse must have been married at least 20 years; the military spouse had at least 20 years of creditable service, and those two overlapped by at least 20 years.
Read More: Laws Governing Military Divorces
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