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Legal Information: Alaska

Statutes: Alaska

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August 8, 2023

Sec. 25.20.110. Modification of child custody or visitation

(a) An award of custody of a child or visitation with the child may be modified if the court determines that a change in circumstances requires the modification of the award and the modification is in the best interests of the child. If a parent opposes the modification of the award of custody or visitation with the child and the modification is granted, the court shall enter on the record its reason for the modification.

(b) When making a determination relating to child custody under (a) of this section, the court shall consider the past history of the parents with respect to their compliance with the child support payment provisions of temporary or permanent support orders or agreements relating to the child or to other children. Under this subsection, the court may consider a parent’s failure to pay child support only if the parent had actual knowledge of the amount of the child support obligation and had funds available for payment of support or could have obtained those funds through reasonable efforts, as determined by the court.

(c) In a proceeding involving the modification of an award for custody of a child or visitation with a child, a finding that a crime involving domestic violence has occurred since the last custody or visitation determination is a finding of change of circumstances under (a) of this section.

(d) Except as provided in (e)–(h) of this section, a parent’s temporary duty, mobilization, or deployment to military service and the resultant temporary disruption to the schedule of a child of the parent may not be a factor in finding a change of circumstances on a motion to modify child custody or visitation.

(e) A court may provide for a temporary modification of a custody or visitation order during the period of a parent’s deployment to military service to make reasonable accommodation for the deployment. The temporary order must specify that deployment is the basis of the order and include provisions for

(1) custody or reasonable visitation during a period of leave granted to the deployed parent if the custody or visitation is in the child’s best interest;

(2) termination of the temporary order and resumption of the permanent order within 10 days after notification of the deployed parent’s ability to resume custody or visitation unless the court finds that resumption of the custody or visitation order in effect before deployment is no longer in the child’s best interest; the nondeployed parent shall bear the burden of proving that resumption of the order is no longer in the child’s best interest;

(3) a hearing if a child of a deployed parent has been moved out of state and the nondeployed parent has filed a motion that alleges that resumption of the permanent custody order will result in immediate danger of irreparable harm to the child or that the presumption under AS 25.24.150(g) exists;

(4) delegation, on request of the deployed parent, of the deployed parent’s visitation rights under an existing order, if any, to another family member who has an existing close relationship to the child if the delegation is in the child’s best interest; and

(5) immediate notification by each parent of a change of address or contact information to the other parent and to the court; if a valid court order issued under AS 12.61.120 or AS 25.20.060 or an equivalent provision in another jurisdiction is in effect that requires that the address or contact information of the parent be kept confidential, the notification shall be made to the court only, and a copy of the order shall be included in the notification.

(f) A court shall expedite a hearing to modify custody or visitation on a motion made by a parent who is subject to deployment.

(g) In making a determination of the best interests of the child, the court shall consider the factors under AS 25.24.150(c) and apply the rebuttable presumption under AS 25.24.150(g) to visitation, delegation, and custody orders issued under this section. In addition, there is a rebuttable presumption that a deployed parent’s visitation rights may not be delegated to a family member who has a history of perpetrating domestic violence against a spouse, a child, or a domestic living partner, or to a family member with an individual in the family member’s household who has a history of perpetrating domestic violence against a spouse, a child, or a domestic living partner.

(h) In this section, “deployment,” “deployed,” “family member,” “military service,” and “parent” have the meanings given in AS 25.20.095.