Under Alaska law, if either party experiences a change of circumstances that are so substantial and continuing as to make the terms of the order requiring Spousal Maintenance unconscionable, the court can amend the maintenance award or discontinue it altogether. Unfortunately, this decision is made on a case by case basis, and there is no definite rule as to when such a change of circumstances is so significant as to trigger an amendment of the order requiring the payment of Spousal Maintenance.

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Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

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It does not matter who wants the divorce. It does not matter who was at fault. For example, the court is not going to award Spousal Maintenance just because the other spouse was unfaithful. The court will not consider fault when deciding upon maintenance, but will look at the factors listed above in the previous question.


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Spousal Maintenance can be broken down into several categories which include the following:

  • Temporary Maintenance: Temporary Maintenance is support that one spouse pays to the other while the divorce proceeding is pending. This Temporary Maintenance is intended to allow that spouse to maintain a similar standard of living that was maintained prior to the couple’s separation.
  •  Permanent Maintenance: Permanent Maintenance is misnamed. This is the maintenance that is ordered once the divorce is finalized, but it can be modified under Alaska law, and in some circumstances, it can be discontinued altogether.
  •  Rehabilitative Maintenance: This continues for a period of time so the spouse who is receiving the maintenance can be rehabilitated or gain further education, to enter the work force and become self-supporting.

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.

how is spousal maintenance determined?

If you and your spouse can agree on an amount of Spousal Maintenance and the duration of the payments, a court will likely adopt the amount that is agreed upon. However, if you and your spouse disagree about Spousal Maintenance, the court will decide the amount and duration based upon various factors. In Alaska, courts look at the following factors when deciding whether or not to award Spousal Maintenance:

  • Spouse owns sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s reasonable needs.
  • Spouse is able to be self-supporting through employment.
  • Spouse is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside of the home.
  • Financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  • Time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment.
  • Standard of living established during the marriage.
  • Duration of the marriage.
  • Age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  • Ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet the spouse’s own needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.

spousal maintenance

Spousal Maintenance is the payment from one spouse to another spouse either on a temporary or permanent basis. Many people refer to it as “Alimony”, but they are one and the same. Spousal Maintenance is intended to allow a spouse to maintain the same type of lifestyle or standard of living that he/she had during the marriage. Typically, in marriages in which both spouses work, and earn fairly comparable incomes, Spousal Maintenance will not be an issue. Under such a scenario, it is unlikely the court will award Spousal Maintenance. On the other hand, a stay at home mom, with no marketable skills, who worked to put her husband through a professional career and later stayed at home to raise the children, while her husband advanced his career will be a good candidate for Spousal Maintenance. Each case has to be evaluated on an individual basis, as there are no guarantees. The court looks at a variety of factors.