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How domestic violence affects your Alaska divorce

Divorce is often an emotional, scary event for those involved. Adding domestic violence makes it even more so. Where do you have the time and energy for initiating the complex divorce process when you fear for the safety of you and your children? How do you protect your family from post-divorce abuse?

Thankfully, there are solutions so you can legally end your relationship to a violent spouse and protect your children from future harm. Become familiar with these Alaska laws as you go through divorce proceedings.

What is domestic violence?

Alaskan courts define the term as "a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or actual use of violence." Behaviors do not have to be physical, however. They include all forms of abuse. Common actions are:

  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Harassment
  • Trespass
  • Terrorizing threats

In addition, the person must be someone in your household for the crimes to qualify as domestic violence.

What does a protective order do?

One way to respond to such a dangerous home environment is to file a protective order, which prohibits your spouse from contacting and going near you and/or the children. It may even give you access to belongings such as vehicles and pets regardless of who technically owns them. Violating the terms of the order results in severe penalties for the offender.

How does domestic violence affect child custody?

As you begin the divorce process, you may wonder how your situation will affect child custody arrangements. For now, a protective order can grant you temporary sole custody of the children until the courts evaluate your circumstances and evidence before making a final decision. Your spouse may receive visitation rights in the meantime but must follow guidelines to ensure safety for you and your children.

Final custody and visitation orders will depend on the best interests and protection of the children. The courts encourage relationships with both parents, so you can probably expect supervised visitation at the least.

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