The laws governing child support in Alaska are different from that of other states. AK child support law sets how much the child maintenance should be, and the duration of such payments, plus it seeks to guide parents in exceptional cases such as deviation, support for disabled children, and retroactive support.
As you may already know, child support (or child maintenance) is a continuous monetary payment made by a spouse to another spouse, guardian, caregiver, or the state for the upkeep of children after a divorce or separation.
The person who is required to pay child support is referred to as the “obligor,” whereas the person who is eligible to receive child maintenance is referred to as the “obligee.”
What are AK Child Support Laws?
In Alaska, the obligee is typically always the person who is owed child support, and most likely has primary custody of the child This means this person lives with, caters for the child, and has primary custody of the child.
The obligor is typically always the spouse who pays all or majority of the child support, as he/she doesn’t have primary custody of the children and may or may not have custody or access to them.
According to Alaskan law, if a child is attending high school and is still living with (and being supported by) the other parent, child support must be paid until the child is 19 years old. The non-custodial parent will be responsible for paying in this instance until the child reaches 19 or finishes high school.
What does Child Support Cover in Alaska?
The goal of the child support system is to make sure that the child maintains an adequate living standard. Sometimes, the non-paying parent may not be certain what the payment should cover. Child support payments in AK are meant to cover the following:
In Alaska, child support is solely supposed to pay for the basic requirements of a child, including food and clothing.
While there is no express necessity for college fees to be met under child maintenance, support for college expenses by the non-custodial parent may be consented to by both spouses, after which it is legally enforceable.
When determining the overall support, the judge or agency may, at their discretion, add the following elements
- medical insurance including vision and dental care
- health care insurance
Child Support When One Parent Lives Outside Alaska
To enforce child support orders beyond state boundaries, each state has to have the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) in place. Alaska is no exception.
The UIFSA ensures that child support processes and procedures are consistent across states. When one spouse lives in another state where the Alaska courts do not have the authority to adjudicate or enforce orders, UIFSA reduces these bottlenecks.
As a result of the UIFSA, an AK child support attorney can take legal action against a spouse who now lives in another state to enforce a child support order.
How is Child Maintenance Calculated In Alaska?
To calculate child maintenance, Alaska guidelines use the AK Percentage of Income Model. This can be done easily using the Alaska Child Support Calculator or Child Support Worksheet.
The computation procedures are described in Rule 90.3 of the Alaska Court Rules, in accordance with the rules in AL. Parents can approximate the sum of child support an Alaska judge may order by using either Form DR-305 (Child Support Guidelines Affidavit) or the child support sections of Form DR-105 (Petition for Dissolution of Marriage).
Steps for Calculating Child Support in Alaska
Step 1: Determine the total annual or monthly gross income of each parent.
Step 2: Calculate your net income by taking your gross income and deducting any necessary expenses for work-related childcare as well as income taxes, mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement contributions, some voluntary retirement contributions, social security contributions, and court-ordered payments like child support for children from other relationships.
For calculating child support, a parent’s actual yearly net income or $126,000, whichever is less, will be used by the court to determine child support obligations.
Step 3: Indicate whether you have primary, shared, divided, or hybrid custody. This is essential because the proportion of each parent’s net income that will be taken into account for determining a support order relies on how much time they spend with the kids. These are explained further below:
If a child spends more than 30% of the time—generally 110 overnight stays per year—with one parent and less than 30% of the time with the other, the court will consider that parent to have primary custody.
To calculate child support under a primary custody order, multiply the noncustodial parent’s annual net income as follows:
- for one child: multiply by 20 percent
- for two children: multiply by 27 percent
- for three children: multiply by 33 percent
- for four or more children: add an additional 3 percent for each subsequent child.
Since the children stay with each parent for at least 30% of the year under shared custody agreements, the courts presume that each parent contributes significantly to the cost of raising the children while the children are with that parent.
To calculate the child support obligation for each parent under shared custody, here are the steps the AK will adopt:
Step 1: A court initially determines a parent’s support obligation based on their time-sharing ratio.
Step 2: The judge subtracts the lower support amount (Parent A’s amount) from the higher support amount (Parent B’s amount).
Step 3: The difference between the two sums is then multiplied by 1.5. The sum is the amount that Parent B will reimburse Parent A.
Since under this approach each parent has primary physical custody of at least one child from the relationship and no shared custody of any of their children, the regulations examine each parent individually that has primary physical custody of one or more children.
As an illustration, Parent A has primary custody of one child whereas Parent B has primary custody of two. Given that each parent has primary custody of a child, the parents technically owe each other child support.
The rules determine how much child support each parent would be required to pay. The amount is then divided between the parents, and whichever parent has a larger debt must make up the difference. Using Form DR-307, you can determine the support payment for shared custody.
There are several steps involved in calculating hybrid custody support because it assumes that at least one parent has primary physical custody of at least one of the relationship’s children, while both parents share custody of at least one other child,
- Even if the guidelines computation results in a smaller amount, the minimum amount of support that is acceptable is $50 per month for all the children (not each child).
- Even though the parent with primary custody receives less time with the child than the required 30% for primary custody, the court may nonetheless provide that parent a credit against the child support amount if the parent receives prolonged visitation. The judge will calculate the amount of the credit if there are any.
- Divided custody and hybrid custody are both considered to be “rare instances” under the law. Hence, a judge may alter the support amounts in certain situations if it determines through clear and persuasive evidence that doing so would be “clearly” unreasonable.
Alaska Child Support Calculator or Worksheet: Which to Use?
While a child support calculator can be used to estimate child support, it is not a guarantee of the final amount of child maintenance that the judge will order. A child support worksheet is a form used by the AK courts (or negotiating spouses) to approximate the basic child support obligation of the parents.
Regardless of which approach you use, spouses can decide on a child support sum and amend the worksheet accordingly to ensure it accurately reflects their agreement. Both establish a presumption duty to pay child support.
The final decision on the amount of child support is made by the administrative law judge, administrator, or court.
How Alaska Guidelines are Applied
The AK court will use child support guidelines, which are law-based and are sometimes known simply as “Guidelines. Guidelines establish a fundamental minimum amount of child maintenance, from which the court can differ after considering a variety of considerations.
The criteria are believed to be rational, and a decision of support that conforms to the guidelines is believed to be in the best interest of the child,” according to the guidelines.
Gross Income Included in Calculating Child Maintenance
For child support calculation purposes, gross income includes:
- all wages and salary, including commissions, military pay, tips, overtime, and bonuses
- self-employment income
- interest and dividends
- net rental income from property the parent owns
Even jobless parents are likely to have some sources of income, like:
- severance pay
- unemployment benefits
- retirement benefits
- veterans’ benefits
- disability benefits, or
- workers’ compensation awards.
An AK family court judge may also allocate an income value to parents who do not currently have income-earning employment (like a second house). If a jobless parent inherits assets that can be sold, for instance, the judge may include the property’s market value as a part of such parent’s income.
Where parents willfully go unemployed or underemployed in order to avoid paying child support, judges may infer (assign) income based on what they are supposed to be earning.
Is Medical Health Insurance Part of Child Support in Alaska?
Yes, in addition to the amount of support determined by the guidelines in Alaska, the parents will be responsible for the child’s health insurance.
If health insurance for the children is reasonably priced and they are not eligible for free health care from Indian Health Service (or any other institution) or other insurance coverage providers, a judge will order at least one parent to buy coverage and will typically order both parents to split the cost evenly, unless there is a valid reason not to. This is also the case with medical costs that are not covered by insurance.
Factors Alaska Courts Consider Before Ordering Maintenance
The following factors must be considered by the court when determining whether Alaska Family Code applies:
- The age of the child and needs; the parents’ ability to assist
- Financial resources available to the child
- For a set period of time, you have custody and access to a child.
- An increase or decrease in the obligee’s earnings or income due to the obligee’s property and assets
- Child care expenses incurred by either parent in order to keep a job
- any other children under the care of either party
- Any other children under the care of either party
- What kind of alimony or spousal maintenance is being paid or received;
- Obligor or obligee receives an automobile, house, or other benefits from his or her employer or business entity.
- The parties or the child’s special education, health-care, or other expenses
- The cost of traveling to obtain custody of and access to a child.
- Cash flow from any estate and assets, including real estate, personal property, and business property, can be positive or negative.
How to Challenge or Modify Child Support Order
If there has been a material change in circumstances, you may only approach the court in Alaska to modify an existing child support order.
Motions to Modify include a $75 filing cost, however parents who claim modest poverty may be given a fee waiver.
There is no filing cost if an out-of-state order is modified within 30 days of the registration confirmation date. You must pay the $75 fee after 30 days.
When the parents consent to the change, it is FREE to file an unopposed motion to amend.
Here are the documents required for modification or response to motions:
Response to Motion to Modify Packet, DR-720
What AK Courts Consider as Change in Circumstance
a 15% increase or decrease in the amount of child support mandated (i.e., when support is calculated using the parents’ current income, it is 15% higher or lower than the present support order); or
a shift in the parenting arrangement that impacts the calculation of child support, such as going from primary custody to shared custody or vice versa. If you’re trying to decide whether to submit a motion to adjust child support, you might find the FAQs on child support helpful.
Steps to Collect Child Support in Alaska
Getting a child support order in place is only half the struggle in Alaska. You’ll also have to collect the money itself. A noncustodial parent is responsible for paying the full amount of child maintenance per month as imposed by the court. Here are the steps for getting child support in AK
1. Open a Child Support Case
Complete a child support application with your local child support agency/office
2. Locate the Other Parent
To begin the child maintenance procedure in AK, the child support services (CSS) office will use the information provided by the applying parent, as well as information gathered from other sources, to try to locate the other parent.
3. Establish Parentage
It’s critical to establish a legitimate relationship with the child when the other parent has been located. The state will assist you in locating the sufficient means. Parents can choose to acknowledge their parentage voluntarily or organize a genetic screening.
4. Establish a Child Support Order
An Alaska child support order specifies how much the other parent should pay and includes details such as the payment schedule and provisions for the child’s health insurance.
5. Set Up Payment
Deducting child maintenance from a parent’s paycheck and transferring the money to the other parent or guardian is the most typical method of payment. It’s a simple way to make and track child support payments.
6. Enforce the Support Order
Your AK child support services will enforce the child support order if the noncustodial parent does not pay the full amount or does not pay any. Exposing overdue child support payments to credit bureaus, intercepting income tax refunds, and Withholding child maintenance from unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits are examples of other enforcement measures.
7. Review the Order
Three years after the order is issued, either parent can request their local child support office to revise it. They can ask for a reassessment sooner than three years if a parent’s situation has changed significantly, such as loss of employment or imprisonment.
Alaska Child Support Services Office, Number and Login Portal
Contact the Alaska Child Support Services Division through:
Office – 655 F Street (physical location)
550 W 7th Ave Suite 310 (mailing)
Anchorage AK 99501-6699
Phone Number – (907) 269-6900, Toll Free (In-state): 800-478-3300
Online Login Portal – Forms
What Happens if you Don’t Pay Child Support in Alaska?
Arrears or missing child support payments are collected in small claims court through mediation or wage garnishment. Therefore, if you knowingly and purposefully refuse to pay child support in Alaska, you may be charged with “civil contempt of court,” which carries a potential fine of up to $5,000.
The consequences of not paying child support orders in Alaska can be very dire. The penalty may include:
- Your tax refunds from the IRS could be taken.
- Your mortgage could be affected, and credit bureaus will file a report on you, making it more difficult for you to obtain loans.
- Your salary, retirement benefits, unemployment compensation, or all other income sources may be taken
- Your property might be seized.
- Authorities can withdraw money straight from your bank account.
- Your passport may be rejected, suspended, or canceled if the sum surpasses $2500.
- Your vehicles or property could be the subject of liens.
If you feel the arrears are being demanded wrongly, you can learn how to get child support arrears dismissed HERE.
How to Pay Child Maintenance in Alaska
In Alaska, parents can pay child maintenance in a variety of ways, as long as your order doesn’t state otherwise:
- by debit or credit card,
- bank transfer
- direct deposit
- income withholding, or
- auto-draft from a bank account.
How to Check your Child Support Payment History in AK
When there are disagreements between the parents and a need to confirm how much money is owed, child support payment records are extremely beneficial.
Contact the Child Support Services Division (CSSD)
– PHONE – (907) 269-6900 TOLL FREE (In-State) 800-478-3300.
– Online Portal
When Does Child Support End in Alaska?
The Alaska court “may order that one or both parents to support a child until:
- the child is 18 years or finishes high school (whichever comes last),
- the child emancipates by getting married,
- the child’s disabilities are removed, or
- the child dies.
Nevertheless, if the judge determines that the child is disabled (physically or mentally), the child can receive support perpetually.
Legal Custody Rights of a Child in Alaska
In Alaska, the mother has primary legal and physical custody of the child until the father demonstrates paternity. Despite the fact that his name appears on the child’s birth certificate, the father has restricted parental rights.
Is Child Support Tax Deductible in Alaska?
NO. In Alaska, child support payments are neither taxable to the recipient nor tax-deductible by the payer as stated by the IRS. Don’t include child support payments when calculating your gross income to see whether you have to file a tax return.
However, either parent may be eligible for a dependency exemption per child. If the parents can’t agree on who receives the exemption, the judge will set out the terms in a court order.
Getting a Skilled Alaska Child Support Attorney
If you are involved in a family law matter in Alaska, you may have a lot more questions than answers at this moment. You are not alone; Correspondence with members has shown that using the services of specialized child support attorneys saves a lot of hassles and most importantly, ensures you come out as a winner for you and your kid.
If you need to fight your child maintenance cause in AK with confidence, then you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.
Luckily, we have compiled a database of these expert child support lawyers and made them available for the convenience of our members. You can reach them at the click of a button for legal advice and representation on child maintenance.
- 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
Child Support 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