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Alaska Child Custody
Child Custody in Alaska

According to Sec. 25.24.150, of the Alaska child custody laws, child custody is determined by "the overall best interest of the child."

Parental Relations

Judges in Alaska look to see that the more suitable parent for custody, or the parent who is more likely to win a custody hearing, encourages the child's relationship with the other parent. The parent awarded sole custody must foster a loving environment for the child to grow up in, which includes frequent visits with the non-custodial parent. The parent who has sole custody should not prohibit the other from seeing the child on a regular basis, and should disclose all details concerning the child's education, health, recreational activities and overall well being.

A married couple in Alaska can only apply for marriage dissolution when the custody of any minor children has been arranged, along with visitation rights. When custody arrangements are made in Alaskan courts, the best interests of the child are the most important factor, outweighing parental desires.

Mandatory Parenting Class

Alaska courts require all divorcing parents with minor children to complete a mandatory parenting class before granting a divorce. This requirement is designed to help parents and children deal with the trauma of divorce and separation. Unless the court grants a waiver, both parents must complete this requirement. Rather than give up an afternoon or evening taking your course in a crowded classroom, you can fulfill this requirement conveniently online at a very reasonable cost. We recommend you take Children in Between Online to fulfill your court requirement and for the benefit of your children.

Third Party Custody

In some cases, a third party, or someone other than a child's biological parents, tries to gain custody of a child. Alaska allows third party or non-parental custody arrangements in the event of the divorce, separation or death of a parent when a third party provides the best option.

The Alaska courts often use third-party custody to provide for a child when a parent dies and thus leaves an unfit parent to care for the child. Third-party custodians are often grandparents, aunts, uncles and partners in same-sex relationships.

Third-party custody does not always include physical custody; instead third-party custodians can ensure the psychological and practical needs of a child.

Parental Conduct

Alaska does not permit children to live with parents who have a history of child abuse or substance abuse in the presence of the child. If domestic violence was a problem in the home, the person who inflicted the violence is not awarded custody, and the victim will only be allowed to care for the child if mentally and physically capable. Alaska courts also look to see that the parent who is requesting sole custody does not live with an individual with a history of violence, child abuse or neglect.

In addition to finding a parent unfit because of substance abuse or abuse or neglect towards a child, the courts also consider the conduct of both parents during the course of the marriage, and the impact of parental behavior on the child.


The Alaska courts enjoy discretion when determining visitation between children and parents. The courts can establish visitation between one or both parents, even if both parents agreed upon a no-visitation policy.

In exercising grandparents' rights, grandparents must prove that they have "established or attempted to establish ongoing personal contact with the child." The court must determine whether such visits by grandparents are in the best interest of the child.

The Child's Preference

The Alaska courts consider the preference of a child who is old enough to make a distinction between parents when awarding custody. The parent he or she is most comfortable with is often the primary caregiver during the parents' marriage. Children may also prefer the parent whose residence is closer to their school or extracurricular activities. The court considers the love and affection a child shows one or both parents, as well as the affection that's given to the child by the parent who may be seeking sole custody.

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