Divorce in Alaska, Part 3
Continued from Divorce in Alaska, Part 2
Venue for filing
The Superior Court hears criminal and civil cases, including domestic relations cases. Comprising four judicial districts, the Superior Court is where your divorce suit will be filed. Click here to see the four districts and the areas they serve.
Dissolution of marriage versus divorce
Besides the rarely used statute for annulment, Alaska provides two methods of legally ending a marriage. If you haven't been married very long ago, acquired few joint assets, have no children, etc., then you can file a joint petition for dissolution of marriage--if you agree on everything. However, this can be tricky as the relationship inevitably changes.
If you know all aspects can not be agreed, then one party files a complaint for divorce. For more, see:
Standing Order governs divorce proceedings
Notice that once the divorce complaint is filed, both parties are subject to a court-issued standing order called Domestic Relations Procedural Order.
Here's the gist, presented in form of a FAQ:
What is a Domestic Relations Procedural Order?
This is the first order from your judge that sets out the basic rules for the parties to follow during the case.
When do I get the Domestic Relations Procedural Order?
You receive it when you file your custody or divorce case, or when you are served by the opposing party with the complaint for divorce or custody.
What is the purpose of the Domestic Relations Procedural Order?
The order tells the parties many things that they are required to do or prohibited from doing. Three important things it says are:
- You cannot remove your children from the state of Alaska without the other parent's agreement or the courts permission.
- In a divorce case, you cannot sell or dispose of marital property without your spouse's agreement or the courts permission.
- In a divorce case, you cannot cancel or alter the terms of any insurance policy without your spouse's agreement or the courts permission.
You can read the Third and Fourth Judicial Districts standing orders to get an idea of what these orders say.
Do I need to ask the court to stop the opposing party from taking our child(ren) out of Alaska?
No, the standing order already prohibits either party from taking the child(ren) out of Alaska unless the parents agree or the court orders it.
Do I need to ask the court to stop the opposing party from selling our house or car?
No, the standing order already prohibits either party from selling marital property unless the parties agree or the court orders it.
What happens if I violate the order?
Violating this order is very serious -- don't do it! There can be serious consequences to you. Depending on the violation, it can affect your final order regarding custody and visitation or property division. You can also be arrested in some situations.
What if I need to do something that may violate the order?
Sometimes situations come up where a parent may need to take the children out of Alaska during a divorce or custody case. Or you may lose your house in foreclosure or a car to repossession unless you come up with money by selling them. If you and the opposing party cannot agree on these types of issues, you can file a motion that asks the court for permission to take specific action. Please visit the Motion Practice section to learn more. The court may issue an order allowing you to take the requested action. Until you receive a court order allowing the action, the standing order is in effect.
What do I do if the opposing party violates the order?
You can let the court know by filing a motion depending on what the violation is. If you want the court to order the return of your children or property, call the Family Law Self-Help Center who can help you with forms.
Using the Self-Help Center
Both parties have access to the court's Self-Help Center, but remember this:
The Self-Help Center does not provide legal advice or represent you in court. You are responsible for your own case. The Center is staffed by skilled neutral people who provide valuable legal information and educational materials as a public service.
There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the staff. The Center does not take the place of an attorney, and cannot advise you on strategy or tell you what to say in court. You are strongly encouraged to seek the services of a private attorney for legal advice and strategy.
Your communications with the staff are not confidential and the staff is available to help both parties.
The Center personnel are not acting on behalf of the court or any judge. The judge in your case may require you to change a form or to submit a different one. The judge is not required to grant your request.
No matter your marital situation, we can help. If you're ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.