In Alaska, the most important factor in determining child support is your income, why? Unlike many states that favor the “income share method”, Alaska uses the “percentage income method” to calculate the financial obligation of each parent. That means you need your partner’s income information. This raises the question…
Before you decide to take matters to court, it is important to realize that Alaskan child support laws encourage mutual support agreements between parents. Meaning, if you can keep it civilized, there might not be need for legislation. However, agreements made verbally out of court are not considered as binding, thus, there is a lot of room to get screwed over especially if you are the custodial parent.
That being said.
Alaska uses the ‘percentage of income method’ to calculate child support. The formula requires a set percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income to be paid to the custodial parent each month. Furthermore, the percentage doesn’t always remain the same, meaning, it may increase or decrease as time goes by.
Let’s assume that the non-custodial parent rakes in $2000 a month. If your former partner takes you to court claiming child support, the court may order a flat 25% of your income, which means, your monthly obligation is $500 a month. The mandatory minimum for child support of the non- custodial parent is $50 a month ($600 a year).
Dumbed down, in Alaska child support is calculated on a case to case basis…. But there is a mandatory minimum. Keep reading to find out.
The state provides four basic parenting plans namely primary physical custody where the child spends 70% of the year with one parent, shared physical custody: Each parent gets 30% of the year with the child, divided custody: applies when there is more than one child in the relationship, whereby, one parent gets custody of one or more kids and the other gets primary custody of the other kids. Last is hybrid custody: which is a mix of the aforementioned plans, so talk to a lawyer and figure out which plan works best for your situation.
The typical percentages used to calculate child support owed to the parent with primary physical custody are:
- 20% of income for the first child
- 27% of income for 2 children
- 33% of income for 3 children
- and extra 3% of income for each additional child
Note, Alaska child support laws allow you to modify custody, visitation rights, and child support DIY style. Sounds silly, but it works! What you have to do is get yourself a DIY kit called ‘pro-se-packet’, which is a self-help packet designed to help you represent yourself without a lawyer, but remember, the argument you present in court has to stand on its feet. Consequently, this is an option, but, let me emphasize “no one except an attorney is better suited to advice you about your legal rights, why?
Although Alaska child support laws apply to everyone in the state, circumstances are different. Thus, you need a person well versed in local law to help you navigate.
As mentioned above, income is the most important factor in determining child support in Alaska, but what is considered income?
Legally, ‘income’ captures way much more than your wages, that means if you are on disability, social security disability insurance (SSDI), receive employer benefits or nontaxable benefits such as specialty pay, cost of living allowance, rations, military allowance, and so on… all that is considered income.
On the other hand, payments from need-based public benefits and one-time lump-sum payments are not considered income.
So again, talk to an attorney.
NO, there is no statute of limitations on the collection of child support in Alaska, additionally, if you miss payments, interest will accrue at a rate of 6% each year.
It is also worth noting that non-custodial parents have rights too, meaning, even if the non-custodial parent is unable to pay alimony, the custodial parent cannot withhold visitation rights. This raises the question, what if my former partner was abusive?
In such a situation or if it’s established that the non-custodial parent presents a clear and present danger to you or your kids… such as violence or sexual assault. The CSSD is required to keep your employment, contact, and all other identifying information from the abusive parent when enforcing a child support order.
If you are the one paying alimony, it is vital to keep records as proof of all payments made. This will help you avoid arrears claims and many other issues.
On the bright side, if you and your partner agree to reduce arrears and neither was receiving public assistance from the state, you can sign a written reduction agreement.
2020 has been a doozy for most, so if you find yourself unable to make child support this month, this is what you have to do.
First, understand that in Alaska Retroactive modifications cannot be made on child support, but what you can do if say you lose your job or go to jail is contact CSSD (Child Support Service Department) and modify future payments. The idea is to inform them of your current situation and push for modification.
Note, whether or not you live in Alaska, child support must be paid. Thus, it is not optional and cannot be waived unless a DNA test proves otherwise. Furthermore, missed payments will trigger enforcement or punitive measures such as:
- Your IRS tax refunds may be intercepted.
- You will be reported to credit bureaus making it difficult to secure loans and your mortgage may be impacted.
- Child support may be garnished directly from your wages, retirement benefits, unemployment, or on all your sources of income.
- Your assets may be intercepted.
- Funds can be obtained directly from your bank account.
- If the amount exceeds more $2500, your passport may be denied, suspended, or revoked.
- Liens may be placed on your cars or property.
Arrears or missed payments are collected at a small claims court via wage garnishment or mediation. Consequently, if you willfully and intentionally fail to pay child support in Alaska you may face “civil contempt of court” charges that may carry upwards of $5000 in penalties for each violation.
If you don’t pay the fine you will go to jail or both, remember, the judge has the authority to use the same enforcement tools as CSSD. The somewhat good news is a hearing will be held to question why the non-custodial parent hasn’t been paying child support, so you better have a good reason!
Note that in Alaska, the mandatory minimum for non-custodial parents is $50 per month or $600 per year, thus, even if you are unemployed or in jail, you still have to pay alimony. On top of that, you are responsible for paying health insurance only if it is at a reasonable cost. Still on health insurance, Alaska child support laws require that each parent contribute 50% of a child’s medical expenses. However, if one parent makes more than the other, he or she will have to pay more.
The point is, whether you are paying or receiving alimony, CSSD, Child Support Division is your best source for resources and legal help! All you have to do is apply for services here and someone will contact you.
What if my former partner denies visitations?
If the custodian “willfully and without excuse” refuse to permit visitation, he or she may be fined $200 for each failure. That is according to sec. 25.20.140. of Alaska’s 2019 statutes.
18 is the age of emancipation in Alaska. Consequently, you start paying alimony after divorce or any other legal gesture that declares your marriage illegitimate as soon as your partner asks for service from CSSD. The amount the court requires you to pay will depend on who has custody and your incomes. Furthermore, in some instances, the court might warrant automatic deductions from your wages. But that depends on who was at fault for the divorce.
But don’t forget, alimony in Alaska also depends on how long your marriage lasted and social and monetary commitment exhibited by both parents. That means if you come out of a divorce severely or unreasonably depleted asset wise. The judge will consider your situation when making the judgment.
Alaskan child support laws are unique in that if you are married to the mother when she procreates, your name will be put on the birth certificate whether or not you are the biological father. Accordingly, the court allows either parent to file a case in court and request a paternity test. Furthermore, the CSSD is allowed to conduct DNA testing or request an affidavit of paternity from both parties.
Generally speaking, to keep paternity issues from snowballing and costing you plenty of money, always ask for a paternity test when unsure!
As mentioned, child support ends when a child becomes emancipated, usually at 18. However, Alaska’s statute AS 9.55.590 says the child has to be at least 16 years of age, meaning, if your argument is right, you can get out of a child support agreement earlier if the child:
- Is capable of supporting him/herself.
- Is 16 or 17 years old.
- The child currently resides separately and apart from guardians or parents.
- Each parent or guardian consents.
Remember, this is a very serious step that’s hard to reverse, so make sure that you understand what you are getting into before you sign anything. My advice, consult with a counselor or lawyer throughout the process.
Overall, Alaska uses the percentage income method to determine parental obligation. Moreover, unlike other states, Alaskan law has a set mandatory minimum of $50 for child support.
So, we advise you to consult with a counselor or attorney in your area to better understand your financial and emotional obligation to your child. You should also understand your rights!
Therefore, if you have any questions, ask us in the comment section and we will get back to you as soon as humanly possible!
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