Alaska Divorce Questions

Divorce in Alaska – FAQs

Alaska divorce attorneys provide answers to frequently asked questions with regards to divorce in Alaska and Alaska divorce laws.

Q: We have not been married for ten years. Does this mean that my spouse is not entitled to my military pension?

Many service members often think that their spouse is not entitled to their military pension unless the marriage has been ten years or longer. This is a false assumption. Under Alaska law, any portion of the military pension that is earned during marriage is considered marital property and is subject to being divided during the divorce process. Defense Finance Accounting Service, however, will not make direct payments to a spouse unless the marriage was ten years or longer and overlapping with ten years of creditable service. Read more about military divorce in Alaska.

Q: Will my spouse get spousal support?

Alaska law recognizes two types of spousal support: Rehabilitation Support and Reorientation Support. Rehabilitation support is the money that pays for job training or school. The idea is that the money will be used to obtain skills to work or move up in your job. Reorientation Support is the money that helps you get used to living on less money than when you were married. This money is paid for a short period, usually a year or less, and usually when the division of marital property does not meet one party’s needs. One example of reorientation support may give a party temporary money while he waits to sell the house. Rehabilitation support usually lasts for the time it will take to complete school or job training. Reorientation support usually lasts for one year at most.

Q: How will the Court decide what parent will have custody of the children?

Alaska courts will use nine factors to determine where the child should be placed. These factors are commonly known as the best interest of the child factors. At trial, you will need to provide the Court with evidence of the child’s stable environment, any special needs, love, and affection between the parent and child, domestic violence, and substance abuse, to name a few. This evidence will come in the form of witness testimony and from exhibits such as text messages and medical records.

Q: How much child support will I have to pay?

Child support is calculated pursuant to Alaska R. Civ. P. 90.3. It is a mathematical calculation based upon the obligated parent’s income. One common misconception is that if the parents of 50/50 equal parenting time, that no party will pay child support. That is not the case. Child support is calculated based upon the party’s income and number of overnights.

Q: How do I modify child custody?

Modifying a custody order is a two-step process. First, the court has to find that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. This change in circumstances can come from the parents inability to communicate, an inability to make legal decisions, one party ending up in jail, a change in work schedule, or domestic violence between the parties or children. Step two is for the Court to determine if it is in the children’s best interest to modify custody.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to convey legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship with the readers of the article.  

Brad Carlson is the Managing Attorney at Carlson Law Group, LLC  His practice is focused on providing legal solutions for Alaskans throughout Alaska. He lives in Eagle River with his wife and children.  You can reach Brad at 907-677-8111 or