AlaskaAlimony Guide - Spousal Support Laws
Alaska Alimony Guide :: Table of Contents
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered provision of financial support a spouse for after a divorce. Alimony laws vary considerably from state to state, and courts often have significant flexibility on a case-by-case basis in determing whether to award alimony, how much alimony to award, and how long alimony payments will continue.
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In the state of Alaska, alimony is received after a divorce, or another legal gesture that declares the marriage void, only if the marriage and the resulting divorce, follow several requirements. Depending on which of the requirements of the law that the marriage and divorce fall under the court may require the payment by either or both parties any amount of money or goods, in lump sum or payments that may include adjustments according to the current cost-of-living, as the court and judge see fit. One major issue that the court will take into consideration is the custody of any children from the marriage. The size, frequency, and requirement of any payments a spouse will be ruled to pay to the other will largely depend on which spouse has custody.
The court may require that the party making the payments arrange for their employer/s to make an automatic deduction of their payroll each month or pay period of the amount of the payment. If the employer agrees, the amount will be transferred from the employer to the court for the benefiting spouse’s retrieval.
The ruling of payment is also based on which spouse is at fault for the collapse of the marriage, their economic standing, and the effect the divorce itself has had on both parties. The payments also depend on the length of the marriage and the commitment, monetarily and socially, that both spouses have given to the marriage and well being of each other. Age and health of both parties is also considered, for if the party at fault is physically incapable of earning sufficient funds to make payments, that will be taken into consideration, a fact that also falls under the requirement of the earning capacity of both parties, which is taken into consideration of the payments. If either spouse has unreasonably depleted assets of the marriage, it will be noted in the ruling as well. The judge may also include, at his discretion, the present value of retirement benefits in either spouse's estate value when considering the ruling.
As in most states, in Alaska, alimony is awarded at the final judgment of the judge deciding the case.
In the state of Alaska, a number of factors are taken into account when calculating the amount and duration of alimony or spousal support payments.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating alimony?
Alaska has a defined list of factors, described in statutory law, that are legally required to be considered by a judge when determining alimony payments. These factors may be directly connected to the alimony calculation formula.
Is marital fault considered in Alaska alimony?
Alaska does not consider marital fault when determining alimony payments. This means that divorces considered "at-fault" due to cheating or infidelity, abuse, or other factors do not affect the calculation of alimony payments.
Is standard of living considered in Alaska alimony?
Standard of living is considered when calculating alimony payments in the state of Alaska. This means that a judge will consider the lifestyle enjoyed by the alimony-receiving spouse during the duration of the marriage when determining an appropriate alimony payment amount.
Is custodial status considered when determining alimony in the state of Alaska?
The judge in the state of Alaska considers custodial status when determining alimony payments. This means that alimony calculations are affected by whether or not the receiving spouse has custody of the children, and custodial spouses may receive higher alimony payments.
How exactly is alimony calculated in the state of Alaska?
Calculation of alimony is generally done on a case-by-case basis by the Alaska family court judge who is responsible for the case. While some states have a fixed alimony calculation formula, in most cases the final amount and duration of alimony awarded (if alimony is awarded) is at the discretion of the judge.
- How long must alimony be paid?
- The duration of payments is determined by a judge in Alaska family court. Alimony length is usually based on length of marriage - one commonly used standard for alimony duration is that 1 year of alimony is paid every three years of marriage (however, this is not always the case in every state or with every judge). Alimony may also be discontinued upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the receiving spouse. In some cases, judges may even award permanent alimony.
- What happens if alimony isn't paid?
- If alimony is unpaid, the owed debt is known as alimony arrears. Arrears can be collected via mediation, small claims court, or wage garnishment. Failure to comply with a court-issued spousal support order may also result in a contempt of court charge against the spouse who failed to pay owed alimony.
- Can alimony be waived by a prenuptual agreement?
- A prenup agreement is a contract between spouses regarding marriage-related financial matters signed prior to marriage. Limitation or waiving rights to alimony is a frequent clause in modern prenuptual agreements, but some states or localities prohibit such alimony waivers.
- Can alimony be collected if you're not married?
- The legal concept of alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is dependant upon a legal marriage. However, in some areas - especially those with a concept of common-law marriage - "palimony", or support payments between non-married individuals, has been awarded by courts. However, this generally requires extenuating circumstances.
- What is alimony mediation?
When a marriage ends through divorce and alimony is expected to be paid, spouses have the choice to determine an alimony agreement either through litigation (in Alaska family court) or through mutual agreement. Often, a Alaska alimony mediator can be brought in to help the ex-spouses come to a mutual agreement regarding alimony and other contested issues such as property division, and thus avoid having to go to court.
- How are alimony payments taxed?
On a federal level, all qualifying Alaska alimony payments are deductible by the payor, and counted as taxable income by the recipient. To qualify as alimony under IRS guidelines, the following must be true:
- The payments are in cash
- The parties live in seperate households
- The payments are strictly for alimony (as opposed to for child support, etc)
Taxation of alimony varies on a state and local level. You can learn more about Alaska income taxes here .