No two relationships are the same, though state laws often have to define them anyway. Marriage isn’t the option for everyone, but how Alaska regards your household could have a big impact on your life.
Alaska has one of the highest rates of unmarried couples living together in the country. While many of those relationships don’t fit in a simple box, Alaska looks to define certain boundaries in the hope of applying state regulations when necessary. Regardless of the strength of the bond, there are limits in what the laws will offer.
Associations in Alaska
While marriage may offer the strongest statutory base, it’s not the only form of household association. There are a few other classifications with different legal footing in Alaska:
- Domestic partnerships: The next strongest tie in the eyes of the state after marriage, those that enter into this formal relationship can enjoy certain perks. State workers in Alaska can share benefits with their partners, while other employers and policy providers may allow for inclusion on a case-by-case basis. In the event of a divorce or passing, the courts may look at assets in much the same way they do in a marriage.
- Common law marriage: While Alaska doesn’t recognize internal common law marriage, a couple that establishes this type of partnership in another state could bring some allowances with them. The impact isn’t always clearly defined but could affect how the state handles your assets if you and your partner separate or if you pass on without a will.
- Cohabitation: While common law marriage creates a tenuous pact in the eyes of the state, the act of living together does even less. Cohabitation in Alaska usually doesn’t offer any benefits in the legal sense, with no baseline opinions on sharing benefits or property interests.
Knowing how the state will look at your union could affect how you choose to classify it. Make sure you understand the ramifications, and it could shape the steps you take moving forward.