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What should I expect during my divorce proceedings?

Most Alaskans going through divorce have never experienced the process. As such, each step of their proceedings will be new to them, and they will have a lot of questions about what to expect -- especially with regard to timing.

This article will provide a general overview of timing and other things you might expect when you have to litigate your divorce proceedings in an Alaska family court.

A few things to keep in mind about your divorce

You will begin your divorce proceedings by filing your divorce complaint with the appropriate Alaska family law court. After your spouse has been serviced his or her divorce papers, he or she will have 20 days within which to file a response. You will serve your spouse by process server, or via certified mail with restricted delivery and return receipt requested.

During the divorce proceedings, parties may request various things, such as:

  • Interim orders to be made prior to the finalization of the divorce. These are important for the purposes of establishing temporary child custody and parenting plans while court proceedings continue. They may also establish who will live in the marital home during the divorce proceedings, and who will use which vehicles, etc.
  • Emergency/expedited relief/orders. These may be necessary depending on the circumstances of the spouses and their families during divorce proceedings. Emergency relief could apply to any number of unexpected scenarios that arise in which a decision must be made.
  • Courts encourage spouses to mediate their spousal support and child custody issues. This can save time, stress and money for all parties involved.
  • Depending on the financial situations of the spouses, one spouse might seek the other spouse to pay for his or her attorneys' fees related to the divorce. This could occur if one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other spouse.
  • Settlement conferences with judges. If spouses reach an out-of-court divorce settlement, the judge will still need to approve the settlement. The judge will meet with the spouses in a settlement conference to ensure the settlement is fair and that both parties fully accept the terms.

Learn as much as you can about the Alaska divorce process

Couples who learn as much as they can about the Alaska divorce process will be able to navigate their divorces better than those who are ignorant about the proceedings. Ultimately, knowledge is power in any legal matter. The more you know, the better you'll be able to protect your legal rights.

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