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Alaska Legal Separation
Legal Separation in Alaska

Alaska does not have "a specific legal provision for legal separation," but a couple may get legal separation if there is a breakdown in the marriage and the spouses want to separate but stay legally married to protect significant religious, financial, social or legal interests. The judge hearing a legal separation case decides child custody, child support, spousal support and the division of property and debts. In Alaska, there are no court forms for legal separation. There are many things to consider when deciding whether to file for a legal separation because it may have serious consequences.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legal binding contract signed by spouses, which is intended to resolve property, debt and child related issues. This can be a very complex and detailed document depending upon the unique situation of the marriage. Many spouses consult an attorney to provide this or they decide to prepare their own.

Complaint

Under 25.24.400, Complaint for legal separation, "[a] husband or a wife may separately or jointly file a complaint in the superior court for a legal separation. A legal separation may be granted no more than once to the same married couple."

Grounds

Under 25.24.410, Grounds for a legal separation, "[a] legal separation may be granted by the court based on a finding that (1) an incompatibility of temperament exists between the parties; and (2) the continuation of the parties' status as married persons preserves or protects significant legal, financial, social, or religious interests."

Residency

Under 25.24.420, Residency required, "[o]ne of the parties to a complaint for legal separation must be a resident of the state at the time the action is commenced."

Under 25.24.430. Consolidation of actions, "[i]f, at any time, a party to an action for legal separation files an action for divorce or annulment, the court shall consolidate the new action with the action for legal separation."

Under 25.24.440, Applicability of other statutes, "[t]he following statutes relating to divorce actions shall be applied similarly to an action for legal separation: 25.24.060 (Mediation), 25.24.140, 25.24.150, 25.24.152, 25.24.160, and 25.24.170."

Under 25.24.450. Decree. (a) If a court finds that the grounds specified under 25.24.410 (Grounds for a legal separation) exist, the court may enter a decree of legal separation. (b) Unless otherwise provided in the decree, provisions for child custody and visitation, child support, and spousal support included in a decree of legal separation are final orders subject to modification only as provided in 25.20.110 (Modification of child custody or visitation) and 25.24.170 (Modification of judgment). (c) If the decree of legal separation includes provisions for division of property and debts of the marriage, the decree must state whether the division is an interim or final order. To the extent the division is not a final order, the court shall determine the parties' respective rights to and responsibilities for property and obligations not finally distributed and as to any property or debts accrued by either party while the order is in effect.

Under 25.24.460, Effect of separation, "[a]decree of legal separation does not restore the parties to the status of unmarried persons. A decree of legal separation modifies the parties' rights and responsibilities as married persons only to the extent specified in the decree of separation."

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