how long will it take?

This is a hard question to answer. A divorce in Alaska can take as short at 30 days, or several months depending on the complexity of the case and issues surrounding it. Contested divorces can take longer; some may take several months, and others may last years. However, most divorces can be completed with six months to one year. The emotional nature of divorce makes it hard to guess. If both parties can remain cooperative and work towards a peaceful resolution then it can go smoothly. If one party is determined to create conflict and fight the entire proceedings, it will slow the process down.

what is an uncontested divorce

If both spouses agree on decisions relating to custody issues, division of property, division of debt, spousal maintenance and/or child support, or any other issues of your specific divorce, then the divorce is uncontested. Both parties are in 100% agreement. This type of divorce is usually easier and quicker.

what is a contested divorce

A contested divorce occurs when there is a legal battle over some aspect of the divorce. I can be over custody of the children, amount of child support to pay, or how debts are to be split. If the parties are not in total agreement, they are in a contested divorce.

how to divide the marital estate

Alaska is not a community property state. This means that there is NOT automatic division of the marital estate on a fifty-fifty basis. Each estate is looked at individually and the court decides what is fair and equitable. This does not mean the court will not divide evenly, but it must look at other factors before doing so. If you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement that is fair, equitable, and reasonable most courts will adopt it as an order of the court. Therefore, it is to your advantage to reach and agreement on the division of assets and debts through dialogue and mediation if possible.

I can prove my spouse is at fault.   does that help?

Alaska is referred to as a “no fault” divorce state. There is no need to establish one party as “at fault”. You do not need to allege adultery, abuse or abandonment as a basis for getting divorce. The court will not consider such allegations as a basis for granting divorce, it will simply consider whether the marriage is irretrievably broken, and whether there is any realistic prospect for reconciliation.

but I don't want a divorce

Few things are as discouraging as being forced into a divorce you neither seek, nor want. In the state of Alaska this will not prevent your spouse from successfully divorcing you, since the court only needs to conclude that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences. People experiencing this are particularly vulnerable, and need the help of a good divorce attorney to help them put emotions in check and think clearly. Unfortunately, the decisions being made in the next few months can impact your life for many years. It is crucial to utilize the resources you have, so that your interests are covered. At The Law Office of Gary L. Stapp, we make sure you get the guidance you need to make a smoother transition into your changed life.

Divorce In Alaska

Some of the most heart wrenching, saddest days of your life can involve the decision to file for divorce. If you are considering a divorce you need to ask yourself where you want to end up. As you approach that decision you need an experienced and understanding legal counsel to help you through your divorce. Since 1995, The Law Office of Gary L Stapp has helped people like yourself navigate through a divorce so you can begin a new life. When you are considering divorce, you are not only severing emotional and family ties, you are also dividing up the marital estate. When you divide the estate you find yourself splitting up debts, assets, and often, time with your children. The decisions that you make today about your divorce will impact your future and family relationships for years to come. That is why you need a competent divorce attorney at your side.

HOW TO Prepare for your divorce

There are some ways to help your attorney. Every time you do the work, it saves you money that you don’t have to pay the attorney. Here are some ways you can make the process easier and more affordable.

  1. Make a list of your assets, and place a dollar value on each.
  2. List your debts with amount owed clearly indicated If you have trouble listing all of your debts, you might consider obtaining a credit bureau report. A few sources for this information include Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.
  3. Try to create a monthly budget that shows both your earnings and expenses.
  4. List your goals. You cannot expect to get “everything” in a divorce, so try to be fair minded and realistic. For example: what property do you hope to retain? Focus on those goals which are truly most important to you, and leave the rest of the property as negotiable.
  5. Collect the following forms:

               • Income tax returns

               • W-2 forms and payroll stubs

               • 1099’s are other income records

               • Real estate deeds

               • Motor vehicle titles

               • Mortgages or deed for real estate, including appraisals of such

               • Lease/rental agreements

               • Bank statements for all of you family accounts

               • CD’s

               • Stocks & bond

               • Retirement & pension plans

               • Stock options and profit sharing plans

               • Loan documents

               • Credit card statements

               • Automobile/insurance policies

               • Health insurance policies

               • Homeowners insurance policy

               • Documentation of gifts and inheritances

               • State of Alaska PFD

Family Law Divorce

For our military members going through a divorce, we have a page with advice specific to  your situation .

Click on the following link,

Click on the following sections for more information:

what about my children?  what happens to them?

This information is covered in our section on child Custody / Visitation, Child Support, and Parenting Plans. Please review those sections.

Gary L. Stapp Law Office


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.