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Legal Information: Alaska


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Laws current as of August 9, 2023

How will the judge decide whether or not to give joint custody?

When the judge is deciding whether or not to give joint custody, also called shared custody, the judge will look at the following factors:

  1. what your child wants, if s/he is old enough and mature enough to give an opinion;
  2. what your child needs;
  3. how stable each parent’s home environment is;
  4. your child’s education;
  5. the advantages of keeping your child in the community where s/he lives now;
  6. the recommendations of a neutral mediator, if one was assigned;
  7. if there is any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in either your or the other parent’s household;
  8. if there is a history of violence between you and the other parent;
  9. if there is evidence that substance abuse by you or the other parent, or anyone in either of your homes, directly affects your child’s emotional or physical well-being;   
  10. any other factors the judge believes are relevant; 1 and
  11. what would be the best possible amount of time for the child to spend with each parent. Note: To figure this out, the judge will look at:
  • how much time the child actually spends with each parent;
  • how close the parents live to each other and to the child’s school;
  • how easy or hard is it for the child to travel between the parents;
  • any special needs of the child, which one parent can take care of better than the other parent;
  • how willing and able each parent is to help and encourage the child to have a close and continuing relationship with the other parent. However, except the judge will not consider this if the abuser sexually assaulted or committed domestic violence against you, your child, or any other child, and having a continuing relationship with the abuser will endanger your or your child’s health or safety.2

1 AK ST §§ 25.20.090(1)-(5); 25.20.090(7)-(10)
2 AK ST § 25.20.090(6)