AlaskaChild Custody Law
Alaska Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents
Child custody is defined as the guardianship over a child, which covers both physical custody and legal custody. In a child custody dispute the court may award joint custody to both parents or sole custody to a single parent.
Child custody cases in Alaska can be either contested and resolved by court order, or noncontested and defined in a child custody agreement between the parents. A custody agreement or order will legally determine, at minimum, the following things:
- Where the child lives (physical custody)
- Who is involved in making parenting decisions (legal custody)
- How the visitation schedule with non-custodial parents or relatives is arranged
This page describes how a contested child custody case is handled in the Alaska court system, and what factors are used to determine which parent gets custody.
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After a breakup or divorce in Alaska, couples with children must come to a child custody agreement that describes which parent the children will live with, how visitation will be scheduled, and how the non-custodial parent will pay child support.
Some of the factors considered by Alaska in child custody cases include the child's wishes, willingness of the parent to cooperate with their partner and any history of domestic violence.
The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child the court shall consider:
- the physical, emotional, mental, religious, and social needs of the child
- the capability and desire of each parent to meet these needs
- the child's preference if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference
- the love and affection existing between the child and each parent
- the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child
except that the court may not consider this willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in domestic violence against the parent or a child, and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either the parent or the child;
- any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in the proposed custodial household or a history of violence between the parents
- evidence that substance abuse by either parent or other members of the household directly affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child
- other factors that the court considers pertinent
If the parents are on amicable terms they may agree to custody terms in a parenting agreement between themselves, or via a mediator. If child custody is disputed, however, they will have to receive a child custody order from a Alaska judge, who will attempt to make a custody decision that is in the "best interests of the child".
In the state of Alaska, a number of factors are taken into account by the courts when determining who gets child custody. This section describes Alaska's custody factors, considerations, and presumptions when evaluating a custody order.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating child custody in the state of Alaska?
Alaska has a list of statutory factors that are considered by the court when determining a custody order. This list may include factors such as the child's age, the living situation of each parent, any history of abuse or neglect from either parent, etc. Although there is a statutory list of factors, consider other factors at its discretion depending on the particular circumstances of the case.
Do judges in the state of Alaska favor joint custody?
Judges in Alaska are authorized to order either joint or single-parent custody of a child subject to a custody dispute.
Courts in Alaska do not have a presumption in favor joint custody orders when evaluating child custody. The judge will evaluate the specifics of the custody dispute to determine what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child.
Do Alaska courts encourage parents to cooperate together to raise the child?
Alaska courts favor awarding custody to a cooperative parent who is willing to work together with the other parent regarding child visitation, scheduling, child support, and other co-parenting matters. Alaska law favors co-parenting as being in the best interests of the child, and the courts will favor a parent willing to cooperate over a parent who attempts to alienate their child from the other parent.
Are the child's wishes considered when determining custody in the state of Alaska?
In Alaska, the court does consider the child's reasonable wishes when determining which parent wins custody. The judge may take the child's age, maturity, and judgement into consideration when considering the child's custody preference.
Do Alaska courts consider domestic violence when determining custody?
Alaska has laws that explicitly permit the consideration of domestic violence in conjunction with child custody. This may mean that domestic violence is a statutory factor in custody determinations, that the court has a presumption against custody for abusers, or that special procedural considerations are imposed in cases involving domestic violence.
Do the courts in the state of Alaska have the right to hire an attorney or Guardian Ad Litem to represent the child?
Alaska has statutory authority for appointment of a guardian ad litem or attorney specifically to represent the child in a custody case. This person advocates for the best interest of the child, and is tasked with investigating the family situation and advising the court what custody situation would be in the best interests of the child.