The alimony laws governing spousal support in Alaska is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the AK alimony law.
Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in The Last Frontier, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.
Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.
This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.
All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.
Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in AK
Spousal support in Alaska is available in two forms: rehabilitative, and reorientation, however, temporary support may be approved while the case is ongoing. Alimony awards must be reasonably necessary under Alaska’s divorce rules.
Alimony can be awarded in a lump sum or in installments, and for a limited or unlimited period of time. (25.24.160 (a) (2) (2021) Alaska Statute.) Alimony awards in AK (like in many other states) are typically short-term.
Alimony awards in Alaska (like in many other states) are typically short-term, and there are two types of short-term alimony in the Last Frontier state:
Rehabilitative Spousal Support in Alaska
The purpose of rehabilitation support is to provide financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse in order for them to achieve the necessary skills, education, or job training to become self-sufficient following the divorce.
A spouse receiving rehabilitation assistance must have a defined work goal and explain to the court how the assistance will help them achieve that goal. Rehabilitation assistance is usually only provided for as long as it takes the spouse to finish schooling or a training program in order to start new employment.
Reorientation Spousal Support in Alaska
The court will only provide reorientation assistance to one spouse who requires assistance transitioning to a one-income household. Short-term (one year or less) reorientation support is most common in instances where the couple’s marital property is insufficient to cover both spouses’ funding requirements after the separation.
Following a divorce, it’s normal for both spouses to face a decline in financial position, owing to the necessity to sustain two households on the same amount of money that formerly supported one.
Temporary Alimony in Alaska
Temporary relief is awarded when one spouse requires financial assistance during the divorce process. Because the legal process can take up to a year to complete and a final divorce judgment given in certain circumstances, the judge may award temporary alimony to the lower-earning spouse to ensure that they can support living expenses.
Alaska is a Fault-Based and No-Fault Divorce State
Divorce can be “fault-based” or “no-fault” in Alaska. One spouse accuses the other of wrongdoing in a fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce, no spouse holds the other responsible for the marriage’s breakup.
Grounds for divorce under Alaska’s divorce laws include:
- Conviction of a felony
- Purposeful desertion for one year
- Cruel and inhuman treatment intended to harm health or threaten life
- Personal indignities that make life difficult
- Habitual gross intoxication
- Incurable mental illness if the spouse has been confined to an institution for at least 18 months immediately before the start of the divorce, and
- Addiction to opium, morphine, cocaine, or a comparable narcotic by either spouse after the marriage.
25.24.050 (2021) (Alaska Statute).
“Incompatibility” is the no-fault basis in the preceding list. Many couples prefer no-fault divorces because they tend to reduce the acrimony that sometimes follows divorces based on allegations of marital wrongdoing. As a result, there is usually a less overall concern and reduced legal fees.
Who Pays Alimony in Alaska?
In Alaska alimony laws, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.
Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in The Last Frontier is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.
So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Alaska if the above conditions are met.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in AK?
The duration to pay alimony in Alaska can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.
As provided by the alimony laws of AK, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.
How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Alaska
When it comes to collecting spousal support in Alaska, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.
Average Alimony Payment in Alaska
The average amount payable as spousal support in Alaska after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”
To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in AK, the courts in AK takes into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:
- earning capacity of each spouse.
- the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
- the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
- how long the marriage lasted
- the needs of each spouse
- the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
- each party’s tax consequences
- the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
- each spouse’s health and age
- each party’s balance of hardships
- whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
- will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
- any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
- any other factors which the court wishes to consider
This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in The Last Frontier. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.
How Alimony is Calculated in AK
The amount to be paid as spousal support in Alaska is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator
Importance of Using a Skilled Alaska Spousal Support Attorney
If you’re getting a divorce in Alaska and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support,
your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. AK courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.
If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Alaska, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.
For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of AK divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.
FAQ About Alaska Alimony Laws
Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in AK:
Can a Husband get Alimony in AK?
Yes. In Alaska, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.
Who Qualifies for Alimony in Alaska?
Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in AK, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details
How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in AK?
To understand how long alimony lasts in Alaska, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.
However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.
Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Alaska?
Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Alaska and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.
Is Alimony Mandatory in The Last Frontier?
Alimony is mandatory in Alaska as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.
Can Alimony be increased in Alaska?
Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:
- an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
- if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
- loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
- an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
- when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected
Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in AK?
Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Alaska. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.
If it’s an Alaska court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in AK}.
How to Modify Spousal Support in Alaska?
When necessary, Alaska law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in AK usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.
When filing for a spousal support modification in Alaska, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in AK.
The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Alaska:
- Changes in income or employment
- Birth of a new child
- Health changes, including disability
- A new dependent
How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in AK?
In The Last Frontier, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:
- that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
- the spouse proves that he has no source of income
- the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
- if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living
- Alaska Child Adoption Guidelines
- Alaska Childcare Guidelines
- Alaska Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Alaska Child Support Guidelines
- Alaska Divorce Guidelines
- Alaska Marital Property Guidelines
- Alaska Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Alaska Child Support Payment History
Alimony Laws in all 50 States
A Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas
C California | Colorado | Connecticut
D-H Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii
I Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa
K-L Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana
M Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana
N Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota
O Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon
P-S Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota
T-U Tennessee | Texas | Utah
V-W Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming