How to Divorce in Alaska

by Cindy Chung
Spouses can try to negotiate a divorce agreement with a lawyer or mediator.

Spouses can try to negotiate a divorce agreement with a lawyer or mediator.

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To end your marriage through divorce or dissolution in Alaska, you must meet the requirements set by state law. If only you, and not your spouse, would like to end the marriage or if you and your spouse cannot agree on legal issues such as property division or child custody, Alaska law requires a divorce — a contested case. However, if you both agree on all legal issues, you can ask the court to approve your agreement in a dissolution — an uncontested case.

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Step 1

Confirm that you meet the residency requirements to file for divorce or dissolution in Alaska by identifying yourself or your spouse as a resident of Alaska. The state generally identifies a resident as someone who lives in the state and intends to continue living there, unless either spouse meets the residency requirements for military service members.

Step 2

Evaluate your relationship with your spouse and decide whether you can negotiate the legal issues related to property, financial support and children together and without a court order. If you can cooperate, negotiate all legal issues related to ending your marriage and include all of the terms in a written agreement. Submit the agreement to your local court for approval along with a completed dissolution packet — the Alaska court system provides dissolution forms and instructions for couples with and without children.

Step 3

Obtain the Alaska Court System paperwork to start a divorce case if you and your spouse cannot agree on a dissolution. Review the self-help instructions provided by the court. Choose the paperwork that fits your personal situation — for example, the necessary forms vary if you have children with your spouse versus those you'll need if you don't. Complete each form required to start a divorce case, including a complaint, summons, forms related to property and financial matters and forms related to children, if any.

Step 4

Make two copies of your completed forms. File the original forms and copies with the local court. Pay the required filing fees or apply for the exemption available in Alaska for people who lack the financial resources to pay.

Step 5

Serve your spouse with the filed papers through certified mail with return receipt and restricted delivery. Alternatively, you can hire a process server to complete service of your divorce paperwork.

Step 6

Wait at least 20 days after your spouse received the divorce paperwork. If your spouse filed a response with the court, review the response and decide whether you would like to provide the court with additional information or legal arguments.

Step 7

Even if you and your spouse agree on all issues and have a dissolution agreement, you will likely need to appear at a court hearing before the judge signs the order to enter your agreement into the court record . If you cannot attend in person, submit a motion to the court with a request to participate in the hearing by telephone. Alternatively, if you cannot participate at all, file a motion with the court to request a waiver of your appearance.

Step 8

Wait for the court to finalize your divorce or dissolution. Under Alaska law, a judge cannot sign a divorce or dissolution decree until a minimum of 30 days have passed since a spouse or both spouses filed the paperwork to start the case — the judge may sign the court order at your hearing, but you might need to wait and receive the papers in the mail, depending on your local court's practices.