Child custody can be one of the most emotionally charged areas of the law.  As a parent, you are expected to put your personal animosity aside, and cooperate with the other parent for the well-being of your child. Even though you and the other parent have separated and may have a strained personal relationship, you will be expected to co-parent in a manner which promotes the best interests of your child.

As you create your parenting plan, you need to ask yourself two basic questions:

How will this parenting plan affect my child?
Am I creating a parenting plan that is best for my child?

​As you create a parenting plan, you need to ask yourself this basic question:
Do I continue to keep my child’s best interests at the forefront of my mind.
Make sure your own self-interest is secondary to what is best for your child.  




WHAT IF MY EX WILL NOT LET ME SEE THE CHILD?

Alaska courts frown upon any parent who keeps the child away from the other parent. If you have been unable to see your child, you can seek and Interim Custody Order. This type of custody Order can usually be obtained on an expedited basis, well before the divorce or Final Custody Order is finalized. An Interim custody order usually includes a visitation schedule and is a regular court order much like a final Custody Order. It is temporary in nature.

WHAT IF MY EX IS THREATENING TO LEAVE WITH MY CHILD?

You may be able to apply for an Interim custody Order on an ex parte basis. This means that a court may be able to issue a Temporary custody Order upon reviewing the affidavit of only one party before an actual hearing is help. If the court finds merit, it may order that the child cannot leave Alaska for a period of time.

CAN I MODIFY MY CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION?

You need to meet certain criteria before support can be modified. Criteria which constitute sufficient grounds for modifying child support include the following:


            • Substantial change in circumstances

            • Changed health care needs of the child

            • 15% increase or decrease in one parents income

            • Change in custody of the child/permanent move

            • Developmental or special needs of the child that were not considered in the original order

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET MY CHILD SUPPORT?

This is a difficult question that varies by case. It depends on whether you file for child support with an Alaska Superior Court. Depending on where you file, whether the other parent challenges the support amount, and other factors, child support could be established within a couple of months; or it could take longer.

CAN I STOP PAYING CHILD SUPPORT IF I DON'T HAVE VISITATION?

Your obligation to support your child is independent of whether or not you get to see your child. Being a parent brings specific rights and responsibilities, and in Alaska you have a duty to provide for this child until age 18 (or 19 if they are still in high school). Hopefully you can see that as an opportunity to be a positive influence in their life, and you can willingly give the support needed.


If your parental rights are terminated, there are some instances where your obligation to pay support terminates. You would still need to pay any child support that is due and owing, but would not be required to pay future support. You will remain financially responsible for your child until the court actually terminates your parental rights.

CHILD SUPPORT


WHAT IS CHILD SUPPORT?

Child support is financial support paid from one parent to the other to help with costs of raising the child. Typically child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. However, in some circumstances even parents that share the child equally may have one parent pay the other parent support if there is a disparity in income. That determination is made under the Alaska Child Support Guidelines.

Safeguarding your family...


Gary L. Stapp Law Office

Child Custody & support

WHAT ARE THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD?

Child custody can be one of the most trying and emotionally charged areas of law. As a parent you must constantly put aside problems with your spouse to focus on what is best for the child. This is difficult to do, and requires a mature attitude, and a strong desire for a positive outcome. Children should not become “tools” to be used against a spouse, or a method of revenge. Children need to be left out of the fights of their parents, and should be openly encouraged to love both parents. A mature attitude or working together between ex-spouses will result in healthy, emotionally secure children.


The best interests of the child requires the court to consider many factors including the following:

            • The parents wishes

            • The childs wishes

            • Other siblings/relationships that are affected

            • Mental and physical health of the individuals involved

            • Physical abuse or threat

            • Chemical dependency issues

            • Continuity and stability of care

            • Developmental needs of child

            • Financial support (or lack of) by one parent

            • Level of contact with both parents


HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATED?

In Alaska child support is determined by looking at a number of factors including: Income, number of days with each parent, daycare costs, medical costs, insurance cost, and other factors.


Child support is not calculated by your taxable income or Adjusted Gross Income. For the purposes of determining child support, actual income is much broader and different from taxable income. Actual income can include wages, salaries and tips, commissions, bonuses, and earnings, profits and dividends, severance pay, pensions, and in Alaska our PFD’s. Benefits such as Veterans, social security, disability, workmens’ comp, unemployment and other government payments count as income. For the purposes of determining Child Support, draws or advances against earnings, periodic distributions, interest, trust income, annuities, royalites, earned income credits and capital gains are also included as income.


Civil Rule 90.3 explains that a child support award in a case in which one parent is awarded primary physical custody …”will be calculated as an amount equal to the adjusted annual income of the non-custodial parent multiplied by a percentage specified in subparagraph (a)(2) which is 20% for one child, 27% for two children, 33% for three children and an extra 3% for each additional child.” In other words, the more children you have, the more you will pay, because obviously it is more expensive to care for two children then it is to care for one.

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Disclaimer: the material provided on this site is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice for particular circumstances. No one should rely on this site in lieu of legal advice provided by a licensed Alaska  attorney who is experienced in Alaska law. If you have a legal question involving Alaska law, you should contact an Alaska lawyer experienced in this area. Alaska state laws, statutes, guidelines, administrative rules, and case law are constantly changing, and the author makes no guarantee that the information is currently accurate, although efforts are made to keep the information up-to-date. Furthermore, visiting this site alone does not constitute attorney-client privilege.