How to Get a Legal Separation in the State of Alaska
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Legal separation in Alaska is a provision recognized by the statute. The decree of legal separation in Alaska modifies the partners' rights, duties and responsibilities they have to shoulder, once the separation is granted. The partners remain married to each other for all technical purposes and cannot remarry unless and until they get a divorce. The legal separation can be granted only once to a couple.
Grounds for Legal Separation in Alaska: There are only two grounds for getting a legal separation in the state of Alaska. These grounds are specified by the statute and need to exist to get a legal separation. These grounds are as follows:
Separation Agreement or Settlement Agreement in Alaska:
- Irreconcilable Differences – The couple can file a joint appeal to get a legal separation by stating that there are temperamental differences and differences of opinions, which has made it impossible for the couple to stay together. The temperamental incompatibility can be a ground to obtain legal separation in Alaska as it is very important that the couple has a good coordination between them and they get along with each other.
- Protecting Interests – The husband and wife may want to protect their religious, financial and social interests which can be protected by staying married but they cannot stand each other. Legal separation in Alaska is an ideal option for such couples having religious obligations as well as social commitments. The financial benefits of legal separation are also a lure for many couples to go for separation instead of divorce.
Just like the other states, the couple has to sign a separation or settlement agreement in order to obtain a legal separation in the state of Alaska. The settlement agreement deals with all the issues that pop up when a couple decides to separate. These issues have to be handled very carefully so that it does not leave permanent scars on the lives of the parties as well as the minor children if any. The settlement agreement deals with the following issues:
- Property Settlement – Alaska is an equitable distribution state. The marital property, i.e., the property acquired during the marriage is divided in such a way that the distribution is fair and beneficial to both the parties. The property acquired by both the parties during the marriage, the property acquired before the marriage, the investments done before the marriage have to be listed before the settlement is done. The property acquired during the marriage is only liable to division. The inheritances, gifts, other possessions such as monetary rewards are set aside and remain with the owner regardless of who paid for them. It is a better option to make a list of all the property that one possesses, i.e., which is individual, marital or is inherited as a possession.
- Child Custody – While granting the custody, the court takes into consideration the mental, social, emotional and physical needs of the children. The court also considers whether the parents are capable to meet these needs. The needs of children are age specific and they are significant in shaping the life of the children. The rapport between the children and the parents is also an important factor in determining the child custody. The courts in the state of Alaska usually prefer a 'shared custody', which is another name for joint custody. The parents are supposed to equally contribute in their children's lives and having the shared custody helps in doing so. Besides, it may make the parents realize that they are good as a team and can stay as a family or give a shot to their marriage so that they can work on their differences and their problems.
- Parenting Plan – The parents are supposed to prepare a visitation schedule that is comfortable to the children as well as both the parties. They should prioritize the children and prepare a parenting plan accordingly. The holidays, vacations are to be planned according to the children's school schedule and the weekdays and weekends should be divided meaningfully where the parents and the kids enjoy time with each other. It is also important that they do not feel the responsibility as an obligation. If the parents fail to reach an agreement that is mutually agreed upon by both the parents, the court intervenes and it considers other factors such as potential or the history of child abuse, the geographical location of both the homes, the transportation, the means of communication such as phone, computer etc., also need to be looked at.
- Child Support – The child support amount in the state of Alaska is calculated according to the Wisconsin Model which is a controversial model of settlement regarding the child support. This model totally assigns the responsibility of the child to the non-custodial parent. . The net income i.e., the after tax income of the non-custodial parent is multiplied by a specific percentage according to the number of minor children or the children attending high school. These percentages are as follows: 20% for one child, 27% for 2 children, 33% for 3 children and an additional 3% for each additional child. The non-custodial parent is to pay the support amount and the custodial parent happens to contribute very little as a child support except for providing shelter and food for the child.
Spousal Support – The state of Alaska, instead of granting alimony or spousal support, grants extra property when it comes to the property settlement in the separation lawsuit. There are 2 types of spousal support payments. These are as follows:
- Rehabilitation Support – The amount needed for completing a course or job training so that the dependent spouse can get a job and be self-sufficient.
- Reorientation Support – Serves the dependent spouse to get used to less extravagant lifestyle and lead a simpler lifestyle than what they enjoyed during the marriage.