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Ending a union in Alaska: Domestic partnership dissolution vs. divorce

Though Alaska does not recognize common-law marriages and does not offer the same protection to unmarried couples as it does to married ones, it does not leave unmarried parties without rights if they decide to end their relationship. They simply have a different set of rules for their partnership dissolution.

Dealing with property and debt division

Property division is already an inherent aspect of a divorce petition in Alaska. Generally, the courts will divide the property between the divorcing parties fairly and equitably based on several factors and considerations.

On the other hand, unmarried couples can also have the court divide their property and debt between them. However, they still need to file a separate civil case to process this. Moreover, the courts do not divide property the same way as in a divorce. Instead, they base the division on the parties’ express and implied intent.

Facing custody and support disputes

Unlike property division, Alaska courts generally follow the same rules when determining child custody, regardless of whether a child’s parents are married or unmarried. Accordingly, the courts have no preference when awarding custody and will instead identify the option that would be in the child’s best interests.

In terms of support, both parents have the legal obligation to support their child. However, for unmarried parents, it is essential that the father has established his paternity. Otherwise, he has no legal obligation to pay support, nor can the mother demand it.

Not alone in the process

Whether the parties are married or not, ending a relationship is never easy. Not only do they have to deal with the emotions of parting ways, but they also have to resolve the legal issues surrounding the relationship. Nevertheless, the process can be less stressful with a proper understanding of the law and the aid of a competent and caring legal team.