Alaska Divorce FAQs – Alimony

This is about alimony after divorce in Alaska, including when courts order alimony, how the amount of alimony is set in Alaska, and how and when Alaska courts stop alimony once it’s awarded.

This information is from Steve Pradell, the DivorceInfo Network Lawyer for Alaska. Click here to visit his web site.

When does alimony get paid?

During the litigation, prior to the final orders in a divorce case, a court can award interim (temporary) spousal support, alimony or attorney’s fees to a spouse.  These awards are generally based upon the finances of the parties and the needs of one spouse for funds.

At the end of the case, the court can order that one spouse pay for some or all of the other spouse’s attorney’s fees, and an award of alimony (spousal support) to be paid after the case is completed.

Alimony awards are not favored in Alaska. Judges prefer to provide a spouse with additional property at the time of divorce than to enforce an award of alimony which may be the subject of litigation in the future. They may be modified if there is a substantial change of circumstances related to the purpose of the alimony award.   Normally, alimony awards are restricted to either the rehabilitation, to allow a spouse to advance in the work force, or to reorientation, to provide an opportunity to adjust to the changed financial circumstances accompanying the divorce when the property settlement will not adequately meet the parties’ reasonable needs.  Normally, if alimony is awarded, it is given for a short duration.

How does the court decide how much?

See above.

What does it take to change alimony?

Alimony awards may be modified if there is a substantial change of circumstances related to the purpose of the alimony award.

When does alimony stop?

The Alaska Supreme Court has stated that a spouse is not entitled to maintenance or property that will support him or her in “a standard of living comparable to that which was enjoyed during the marriage. Both parties to a divorce must reorganize financially.”  The court has indicated that reorientation alimony should ordinary be awarded when the property settlement will not adequately meet the parties’ reasonable needs. Furthermore, given its inherently transitional nature, reorientation alimony may properly be awarded only for relatively short periods of time. The court stated “[I]t is difficult to imagine circumstances under which an award of reorientation alimony extending for longer than one year would be justified.” Reorientation alimony is transitional and cannot be perpetual. Rehabilitative alimony is properly limited to job training or other means directly related to the end of securing for one party a source of earned income.

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