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The Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment in Alaska

In Alaska, a divorce and an annulment are ways to terminate a marital union. Divorce and annulment have some similar processes; however, divorce differs from annulment in effect and requirements. Divorce is the legal termination of a valid marriage, while annulment renders a marriage void. In Alaska, the Superior Court hears divorce and annulment cases.

What is an Alaska Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree, or final decree of dissolution, is an order that the court grants at the end of a divorce. The decree signals the end of the divorce process and contains information about the divorced parties and the divorce case. Examples of information that the divorce decree contains include settlement agreement or marital agreement plans, financial information, and docket number. It also contains information about the date and venue of the divorce and the judge’s name who granted the divorce order.

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

What is an Annulment in Alaska?

Annulment is known as voidable marriage in Alaska. The state does not have a direct annulment order; however, interested parties may request that the court declare a marriage void if any of the grounds that the state laws provide exist. Grounds for a voidable marriage in Alaska include (AS 25.24.020)::

  • When one party is still married to another partner who is alive
  • When both parties are closely related
  • Either is a minor
  • When the couple does not consummate the marriage at the time of filing
  • Either party obtains the other party’s consent to marry by force or fraud.
  • Either party did not have the mental capacity to consent to a marriage at the time of filing.

It is important to note that there are time limits when a party may petition the court for annulment based on any of the above-listed grounds. If the parties continue to willingly live together after a minor reaches the age of consent, or a party discovers after fraud or force, or after the couple consummate’s the marriage, the petitioning party will no longer have legal grounds to request an annulment. Interested parties may request annulment records from the Clerk of Court in the county where the court granted the divorce.

Annulment vs Divorce in Alaska

The annulment and divorce processes are markedly different in Alaska. The state does not have an annulment action but may declare a marriage void based on legal grounds. Alaska offers divorce or dissolution, which terminates a valid or legal marriage. Alaska state statutes list conditions under which the court may declare a marriage void. On the other hand, Alaska is a no-fault divorce state; this means that petitioning parties may file for divorce solely on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

In Alaska, interested parties may initiate the divorce process by filing a complaint; however, the state does not have forms for annulment. Parties interested in and eligible for annulment must speak to an attorney to determine the best way to begin the process.

Typically, the court sends an order schedule for cases that proceed to hearings or trials. The schedule contains the hearing or trial date and information on what each party is expected to do before and during the trial. Annulment and divorce involve similar issues, including property division, child custody, and child support. Depending on whether the case parties agree on these issues, divorce or annulment hearings may happen quickly.

The annulment process ends when a Superior Court judge declares a marriage void, and a divorce process ends when the judge enters a decree of divorce.

Is an Annulment Cheaper Than Divorce In Alaska?

Annulment and divorce have similar associated costs, namely court and filing fees, surcharges, and attorney fees. Additionally, both processes have similar cost-involved issues, such as property division, child custody, and child support. Considering the costs mentioned above, it is safe to conclude that annulment is not cheaper than divorce in Alaska. However, for both annulment and divorce, the process can be faster and less costly when both parties agree on issues.

What is an Uncontested Divorce in Alaska?

An uncontested divorce is one where the parties involved agree on divorce-related issues like alimony, debt and asset division, and where there are dependent children involved, child support, and child custody. In Alaska, an uncontested divorce is known as Dissolution (AS 25.24.200).. Parties who agree on divorce-related issues may file an uncontested complaint and a settlement agreement, indicating that both parties agree.

Where to get an Uncontested Divorce Form in Alaska?

In order to be eligible to file for divorce in Alaska, either party must be a resident at the time of filing. Parties interested in filing for dissolution may use the form packets that the Alaska courts provide. After the petitioner files the required documents, the Superior Court schedules a hearing. Parties who cannot physically attend a hearing may request the court’s permission to join in by phone or file an appearance waiver.

In Alaska, parties in an uncontested divorce or dissolution case must wait at least 30 days from the filing date for the court to finalize a divorce.

Interested parties may request uncontested divorce records from the Superior Court Clerk in the county where a judge issued the divorce decree. However, requesting parties may need to provide identification and relationship to the parties named on the record.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I get a copy of my Divorce Decree in Alaska?

Interested parties may obtain copies of divorce decrees from the Court Clerk or records office of the Superior Court in the county where a judge granted the divorce. Requesting parties may submit requests in person, by mail, or by fax. The court charges $5 to produce the first document and $3 to produce additional documents. Certified copies cost $10 for the first copy and $3 for additional copies.

Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

How Do I Get an Alaska Divorce Decree Online?

Alaska provides electronic assess to court records through the search website and CourtView Online Information. However, pirates interested in obtaining copies of divorce decrees must contact the Superior Court Clerk in the county where a judge granted the divorce. Requesting parties may also call (907) 465–3391 for assistance in determining the request requirements.

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