Legal Information: Alaska

Divorce

Updated: 
February 1, 2021

What are the grounds for divorce in Alaska?

Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for a divorce. The judge can grant you a divorce for any of these reasons:

  1. your spouse failed to “consummate the marriage” (have sexual relations) at the beginning of the marriage that continues up until you file for divorce;
  2. adultery (your spouse cheats on you);
  3. your spouse is convicted of a felony;
  4. your spouse deserts you for a period of at least one year;
  5. your spouse:
    • engages in cruel and inhuman treatment meant to harm your health or endanger your life, such as acts of domestic violence;
    • personally humiliates you to the point that it makes life burdensome; or
    • has a temperament that is incompatible with yours;
  6. your spouse is habitually drunk and the drunkenness began after you were married and continued for one year before filing for divorce;
  7. institutionalization for mental illness for a period of at least 18 months before filing for divorce; or
  8. your spouse is addicted to the habitual use of opium, morphine, cocaine, or a similar drug and the addiction started after you were married.1

Note: If adultery is the only ground for divorce, there needs to be more than just a confession from your cheating spouse to get a divorce on that ground. In addition, if after you learn that your spouse has cheated, you continue to live together as spouses (“cohabitate”), you tell your spouse that you forgive him/her, or you wait more than two years to file for divorce, these can be defenses offered by your cheating spouse to fight against the divorce being granted based on adultery.2 Telling your spouse that you forgive him/her for committing any of the acts in numbers four, five, and six, listed above, can also be a defense to a divorce based on one of those grounds.3

If you want to file for a “no-fault divorce” based on the fact that your marriage has broken down and you do not want to list one of the fault-based grounds outlined above, you may be able to file for a dissolution or an uncontested divorce. To see if you’d qualify for either of those, go to What is the difference between dissolution and divorce? Which one do I file?

1 Alaska Statute § 25.24.050
2 Alaska Statute §§ 25.24.070; 25.24.120
3 Alaska Statute § 25.24.130

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