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Marriage is simply defined as the legal union of two individuals. While it may be considered sacred and special, many couples end up divorcing or separating. Alaska's divorce rate in 2021 was 3.1 divorces per 1,000 people, a slight decrease from 2019 when the state had the sixth highest divorce rate in the U.S. at 3.6%.

Data from the National Library of Medicine reveals that domestic abuse and substance use disorders are some of the common reasons why married individuals file for divorce. Meanwhile, in Alaska, adultery, incurable mental illness, habitual drunkenness, and failure to consummate marriage are some of the most cited causes of divorce.

If you think the situation in your marriage is not healthy anymore, you might consider filing for divorce. This article provides pertinent information about the state's divorce process and links to the required paperwork. It also lists resources that can be helpful for divorcing spouses.

Is Alaska a No-Fault State When It Comes to Divorce?

In Alaska, if you intend to end your marriage, you can file using the fault or no-fault guidelines. You may file for divorce on no-fault grounds, citing incompatibility of temperament as the reason. For a fault-based divorce, on the other hand, you will be required to prove in court that your spouse has engaged in any of the following misconduct:

  • Adultery

  • Inhuman treatment

  • Felony conviction

  • Drug addiction

  • Habitual drunkenness

  • Desertion for at least a year

Alaska Statutes 25.24.050 also allows you to use your spouse's incurable mental illness and failure to consummate the marriage as grounds for divorce.

How to File for Divorce in Alaska

Navigating the divorce process can be complicated, so you must properly understand the significant steps and documents for your case. This section provides the steps you need to follow when filing for divorce in Alaska.

1. Preparing the Preliminary Divorce Documents

If you have decided to start the divorce process, you should prepare the required documents for your complaint or petition. In Alaska, separate forms must be completed for divorce cases with and without minor children.

For uncontested divorce without children, you can use SHC-PAC9B, which requires you to fill out the following forms:

  • Uncontested Complaint for Divorce Without Children (SHC-111).

  • Joint Request to Put a Settlement on Record (SHC-1063).

  • Information Sheet (DR-314).

  • Case Description (CIV-125S).

  • Certificate of Divorce (VS-401).

  • Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (DR-801).

  • Decree and Judgment (DR-806).

You can access the SHC-173 document for more details about the number of forms to file and the required information to include with the forms.

For contested divorce without children, you are required to use SHC-PAC1B, which includes the following forms:

  • Complaint for Divorce Without Minor Children (SHC-102).

  • Case Description Form (CIV-125S).

  • Information Sheet (DR-314).

  • Summons.

  • Certificate of Divorce (VS-401).

  • Property and Debt Worksheet (SHC-1000).

If you need assistance in filling out the forms, you should access the SHC-183 file, which contains detailed instructions about each form. 

For uncontested divorce with children, the SHC-PAC9A packet should be used. It includes the following forms:

  • Uncontested Complaint for Divorce (SHC-110).

  • Joint Request to Put a Settlement on Record (SHC-1063).

  • Child Custody Jurisdiction Affidavit (DR-150).

  • Child Support Guidelines Affidavit (DR-305).

  • Information Sheet (DR-314).

  • Case Description (CIV-125S).

  • Child Support Order (DR-300).

  • Certificate of Divorce (VS-401).

  • Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (DR-801).

  • Decree and Judgment (DR-806).

Additional instructions on how to complete the forms can be found in the SHC-178 file.

For contested divorce with children, you should fill out the forms required under the SHC-PAC1A packet. These forms include the following:

  • Complaint for Divorce With Children (SHC-101).

  • Information Sheet (DR-314).

  • Case Description Form (CIV-125S).

  • Child Support Guidelines Affidavit (DR-305).

  • Child Custody Jurisdiction Affidavit (DR-150).

  • Certificate of Divorce (VS-401).

  • Summons (CIV-100).

  • Property and Debt Worksheet (SHC-1000).

You can read the instructions for this complaint in the SHC-182 file. It is also important to note that for VS-401 forms, you need to pick up a copy at your local court. 

2. Filing the Divorce Papers

After completing and signing each form, you must file the divorce paperwork with your district's Superior Court Clerk. The district where you should file your petition or complaint should be where you lived together or where your spouse currently resides. There is a $250 filing fee for divorce or dissolution of marriage cases. You can visit the website of the Alaska Court System's Family Law Self-Help Center for a complete list of fees and instructions on how to request a waiver.

The state's court system is also transitioning to electronic filing through a web-based eFiling program called TrueFiling. If your court has adopted the program, you and your lawyers can file and serve documents for your case. 

3. Serving and Responding to a Divorce Complaint or Petition

After filing your divorce complaint or petition with the court, you have to serve a copy of the paperwork to your spouse. A state-authorized process server, usually a member of the local or state police department, will be tasked with hand-delivering the divorce papers to your spouse. You can also mail the documents to your spouse through a court-certified courier. It is ideal to consult your court clerk about local rules and regulations, as well as alternate methods of service, when having difficulty finding your spouse.

You have to submit a Civil Rule 4(f) Affidavit within 120 days after filing the divorce complaint as proof that you have already served the legal documents to your spouse. Failure to do so within the deadline will allow the court to dismiss your case unless your reason for the delay is valid.

Your spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition. If no response is filed after the deadline has lapsed, you can file for a default divorce, wherein a judge may grant everything you have requested in the complaint.

On the other hand, if you and your spouse have filed a joint divorce complaint or dissolution petition, you do not need to go through the serving process. You must ensure that both of you have copies of all the documents you have filed with the court.

4. Attending a Parenting Education Program

For divorce cases involving children, the separating parents are required to complete a parenting education course before a judge can grant the final divorce decree. Most courts mandate watching an approved video or taking an online class. This requirement depends on your court location

5. Finalizing the Divorce Process

A divorce may be finalized in various ways. The table below outlines some of the options of divorcing spouses.




This process allows you to negotiate a settlement with your spouse to save time and money, as well as avoid the emotional toll of going to trial.


This process will require divorcing spouses to present arguments and evidence to a judge, who will then make the final judgment.


This process involves an arbitrator who will make a binding decision that benefits both parties. 

How Property Is Divided in an Alaska Divorce

When it comes to divorce and dissolution cases, separating spouses are required to divide their marital property and debt equally. Marital property refers to anything earned or bought during the marriage, while marital debt means any money owed to a person or business during the marriage. Both parties must identify, value, and divide their property and debt

Spouses can divide their assets in different ways:

  • Assigning items to each spouse and ensuring they get the same value.

  • Selling the property and then dividing the proceeds.

  • Designating the accumulated debt.

  • Seeking help from a mediator when having trouble with the division process.

Factors in a Fair and Equitable Division of Property

When determining how to divide the marital property of divorcing spouses, judges consider the following factors, as per Alaska Statutes 25.24.160:

  • The length of the marriage and the parties' social standing at the time of the marriage.

  • The parties' age and health.

  • The earning capability of the parties, including their educational background, work experience, and obligations for child care during the marriage.

  • The financial situation of the parties, including the availability and cost of health insurance.

  • The behavior of the parties, including whether either has spent or sold marital assets unreasonably.

  • The appropriateness of awarding the family home, or the right to live in it for a fair period, to the party with primary physical custody of the children.

  • Each party's conditions and necessities.

  • The time and manner in which the property in question was purchased or received.

  • The property's ability to generate revenue and its worth at the time of partition.

In Alaska, the law prohibits a judge from considering the fault of either party for contributing to the marriage's dissolution. Still, the judge can take a spouse's poor behavior into account if it has resulted in the waste of marital assets.

Alaska Divorce FAQs

In this section, you can read responses to some of the most commonly asked questions about the divorce process in Alaska. You can visit the Self-Help Center of the Alaska Court System for additional information. You may also seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer.

Legal Resources for Getting a Divorce in Alaska

If you have decided to file for divorce or have been served with divorce paperwork and are unsure of when and how to respond, here is a list of organizations and programs that might help you navigate the divorce process. 

Alaska Legal Services Corporation

ALSC has partnered with the Alaska Bar Association to help Alaskans face complex family matters like divorce, paternity, and child custody. Its advocates provide clients with legal advice and representation. They also assist individuals who opt for self-representation, preparing the necessary documents for their case. Clients can apply for help online or call 1-888-478-2572.

Alaska Court System Self-Help Center

The Family Law Self-Help Center offers public service to individuals seeking pertinent information about Alaska family law. It provides educational materials, links, and forms that are useful for people navigating the legal system. You can also use the center's helpline to speak with trained court employees about your case.

Family Law Education Class & Hearing and Trial Preparation

If you opt to represent yourself in court, you may participate in the Alaska Court System’s Zoom “Family Law Education Class," which offers an overview of family law cases, explains where to get more information, and discusses court procedures. The session will also show the "Listen 2 Kids" video. You may also attend another class that helps you prepare for your hearing and trial.


AlaskaLawHelp caters to low-income and senior citizens with divorce and domestic violence cases. It provides information on low-cost or free legal programs across the state. The website also contains forms relevant to family law cases.


DivorceCare has been assisting people in overcoming the trauma of divorce. Its support groups guide people on the road to recovery following a separation. The DivorceCare program involves a 13-week video series. People can join groups in Anchorage, Wasilla, and other areas in Alaska.

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