Alimony in Alaska: an in-depth analysis. Divorce can lead to financial upheaval. And especially for those who are dependent on their spouse for living and are unable to maintain themselves.
Many times, one spouse is in a better position than the other. They may have a higher paying job, a more promising career path, or access to more assets, while the other does not have such financial stability in life.
And to bridge the financial gap between the two spouses, the court orders the financially stable spouse or the bread earner to pay some of the money to the other spouse.
This sum of the money awarded to the other spouse is called alimony. In some countries, it is also called spousal support or maintenance.
In Alaska alimony gets termed spousal support.
Divorce laws differ from country to country, and each state has its own policy when it comes to alimony. Understanding your state laws will help you determine whether you could owe or receive spousal support as part of your dissolution proceeding.
In this article, we will look at whether there is spousal support in Alaska and if so, what are the alimony laws in Alaska.
Let’s delve deeper into Alaska alimony laws and what you need to know to get the best out of your divorce.
Are there alimony laws in Alaska?
Alimony or spousal support laws vary from state to state. In almost every state, courts often consider several factors in deciding whether alimony should get awarded, how much alimony is to get awarded, and how long it will continue.
And Alaska, like every other state, provides a provision in its family law regarding spousal support or alimony, which states that alimony is awarded to either spouse by the bread earner or the spouse having better financial standing than the other spouse.
In Alaska, Alimony is termed spousal support that gets ordered to one of the spouses from the other spouse.
The court may order alimony to be paid during the divorce proceeding as interim maintenance, after the finalization of the divorce, or at both stages. However, alimony is generally ordered for some specific purpose and for a limited period only.
The main aim behind the alimony laws in Alaska is to secure the same standard of living for the spouse as they had during their marriage.
Family Law spousal support
In addition, Alaska family law divides spousal support into two types:
Rehabilitation assistance is a sum of money provided to the lower-earning spouse from the other high earning spouse for the financial backing to get the job training, skills, and education. The main objective behind rehabilitation assistance is to help in mitigating the financial impact of divorce on spouses by providing them with the opportunity to gain the education, skills, and experience necessary to become self-supporting.
The receiving spouse must tell the court what they want to acquire, their specific employment goal, and where the money will be used.
And if the receiving spouse does not use that money for the purpose it was awarded, the court may terminate the spousal support.
Thus, in Alaska rehabilitation assistance is provided from the higher earning spouse to the needy spouse to enable them to work and earn their living.
This rehabilitation assistance amount gets paid for a reasonable amount of time; generally it lasts until the person completes the degree program or training required for the specific employment goal.
Reorientation support helps spouses to adjust to life after divorce. The primary aim is to award reorientation assistance is to help the needy spouse settle in the post divorce situation when the distribution of marital assets cannot fairly meet his or her financial needs.
This reorientation assistance is typically provided for a short period of one year or lesser term to help the needy spouse settle to the post-divorce living situation.
Thus, reorientation support is an amount provided to allow a transition period to the needy spouse to adjust to the changed economic situation after divorce.
Alimony Laws in Alaska
Alaska, like many states, provides laws to protect the financially unstable spouse’s interest in maintaining their standard of living after a divorce.
The primary object behind spousal support in Alaska is to bridge the financial gap between the two spouses and to ensure that both spouses live within the same standard as they lived during their marriage.
In Alaska, either spouse may file for spousal support in an Alaska court. But that spouse must prove the need and financial incapacity to maintain themselves in order to get alimony.
According to sections 25-24-165 and 25.24.230 of the Alaska divorce statutes, the court may order spousal support to a spouse on a temporary or permanent basis in lump sum or periodic payments, considering a number of factors.
Thus, either spouse is eligible to receive spousal support under Alaska family law. However, they must prove the need for support and establish financial incapacity to maintain themselves as they lived during their marriage.
Alaska statute § 25.24.160(a)(2)(2021) provides a list of factors for courts to consider while determining whether alimony must get ordered, how much alimony must get awarded, and how long alimony must continue.
How to Calculate the Amount of Alimony in Alaska?
Spousal support gets paid on a lump sum, property, or periodic payments basis. This amount gets awarded during the divorce, on finalization of the divorce, or on both occasions.
But generally, spousal support is awarded for some specific purpose and for a limited period.
In Alaska, spousal support must be just and fair. The formula for calculating the amount of alimony differs from case to case. The judge has broad discretion while calculating the amount of spousal support and making a final move.
When awarding spousal support, family court judges consider varied factors for calculating the amount and duration of alimony or spousal support payments.
Alaska Stat. § 25.24.160 (a) (2) (2021) defined a list of factors that the court should consider when awarding spousal support:
- Couples’ age and health condition
- Both spouses’ financial standing. This includes the availability and cost of health insurance.
- Earning capacity of the spouses
- Spouse’s educational background, working skills, job experience, length of absence from the job market, and income status.
- Couples standard of living during the subsistence of marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The spouse’s actions may have impacted the family finances and resulted in an undue diminution of the matrimonial property.
- The ability of the paying spouse to support the needy spouse and themself.
- Division of property and marital assets
- The custodial responsibilities for children during the marriage;
- Any other factor may be considered for award of alimony, which the court deems fit.
Some states consider adultery, abuse, or another spousal fault when calculating the amount of alimony. But in Alaska, such factors are irrelevant.
Adultery, abuse, or other faults of the spouse has no bearing on the issue of alimony.
However, Alaska law states that the reduction in marital property due to the fault of one spouse should not cause injustice to the other spouse.
Thus, any reduction in the marital property due to the conduct of one of the spouses gets taken into account; while awarding alimony.
Alteration and cancellation of alimony
The amount of alimony remains the same from year to year, and any change in the paying spouse’s circumstances, whether a pay raise or a promotion for the paying spouse will not benefit the former spouse in any way.
The improvement in the financial condition of the paying spouse does not increase the amount of alimony even if he or she wins a million-dollar lottery.
Alimony does not change that easily. And there is no increase in amount like in child maintenance cases where the amount changes according to the child’s needs and requirements.
However, if the paying spouse faces a significant loss in wages or is not able to pay the alimony amount, he or she can file a petition with the court to reduce the alimony.
The court may order a reduction in the amount of alimony after reviewing tax returns and other factors. But the paying spouse must prove the fact that he or she is not able to pay alimony.
In addition, if the spouse who receives alimony remarries, the paying spouse can file a petition to the court for the cancellation of the court decree.
Divorce is difficult for everyone, and people need expert advice; at this time. You can reach amicable terms with your spouse outside the court through negotiations or opt for a divorce trial; in both cases, the issue of alimony may arise.
And fighting alimony cases is very difficult, so you should consult a good family law lawyer to understand your options and whether you could owe or receive alimony.
A family law attorney can help you secure alimony as you adjust to life after marriage.
Thus, consulting an expert family law lawyer can help you get the best outcomes in your divorce matters.
External resource: Alaska.gov
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