Full Statute Name:  West's Alaska Statutes Annotated. Title 25. Marital and Domestic Relations. Chapter 24. Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. Article 1. Divorce and Annulment. § 25.24.160. Judgment

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Primary Citation:  AS § 25.24.160 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  June, 2017 Alternate Citation:  AK ST § 25.24.160 Date Adopted:  1962
Summary: Alaska became the first state to allow judges to provide for “well-being” of pets in divorce actions. Governor Bill Walker signed HB 147 into law on October 2016, and becoming effective January 17, 2017. The law amends AS 25.24.160 contained in Chapter 24 on Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. The amendment states: “[i]n a judgment in an action for divorce or action declaring a marriage void or at any time after judgment, the court may provide . . . (5) if an animal is owned, for the ownership or joint ownership of the animal, considering the well-being of the animal." Courts in most states have limited awarding pets in marriage dissolution based on traditional property classifications with only a few cases considering a pet's "best interests." This law is unique in that it gives the judge the authority to go beyond a traditional property paradigm for pets when dividing marital property.
Statute Text: 

(a) In a judgment in an action for divorce or action declaring a marriage void or at any time after judgment, the court may provide

(1) for the payment by either or both parties of an amount of money or goods, in gross or installments that may include cost-of-living adjustments, as may be just and proper for the parties to contribute toward the nurture and education of their children, and the court may order the parties to arrange with their employers for an automatic payroll deduction each month or each pay period, if the period is other than monthly, of the amount of the installment; if the employer agrees, the installment shall be forwarded by the employer to the clerk of the superior court that entered the judgment or to the court trustee, and the amount of the installment is exempt from execution;

(2) for the recovery by one party from the other of an amount of money for maintenance, for a limited or indefinite period of time, in gross or in installments, as may be just and necessary without regard to which of the parties is in fault; an award of maintenance must fairly allocate the economic effect of divorce by being based on a consideration of the following factors:

(A) the length of the marriage and station in life of the parties during the marriage;

(B) the age and health of the parties;

(C) the earning capacity of the parties, including their educational backgrounds, training, employment skills, work experiences, length of absence from the job market, and custodial responsibilities for children during the marriage;

(D) the financial condition of the parties, including the availability and cost of health insurance;

(E) the conduct of the parties, including whether there has been unreasonable depletion of marital assets;

(F) the division of property under (4) of this subsection; and

(G) other factors the court determines to be relevant in each individual case;

(3) for the delivery to either party of that party's personal property in the possession or control of the other party at the time of giving the judgment;

(4) for the division between the parties of their property, including retirement benefits, whether joint or separate, acquired only during marriage, in a just manner and without regard to which of the parties is in fault; however, the court, in making the division, may invade the property, including retirement benefits, of either spouse acquired before marriage when the balancing of the equities between the parties requires it; and to accomplish this end the judgment may require that one or both of the parties assign, deliver, or convey any of their real or personal property, including retirement benefits, to the other party; the division of property must fairly allocate the economic effect of divorce by being based on consideration of the following factors:

(A) the length of the marriage and station in life of the parties during the marriage;

(B) the age and health of the parties;

(C) the earning capacity of the parties, including their educational backgrounds, training, employment skills, work experiences, length of absence from the job market, and custodial responsibilities for children during the marriage;

(D) the financial condition of the parties, including the availability and cost of health insurance;

(E) the conduct of the parties, including whether there has been unreasonable depletion of marital assets;

(F) the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to live in it for a reasonable period of time, to the party who has primary physical custody of children;

(G) the circumstances and necessities of each party;

(H) the time and manner of acquisition of the property in question; and

(I) the income-producing capacity of the property and the value of the property at the time of division;

(5) if an animal is owned, for the ownership or joint ownership of the animal, taking into consideration the well-being of the animal.

(b) If a judgment under this section distributes benefits to an alternate payee under AS 14.25, AS 21.51.120(a), AS 21.54.020(c), 21.54.050(c), AS 22.25, AS 26.05.222--26.05.226, or AS 39.35, the judgment must meet the requirements of a qualified domestic relations order under the definition of that phrase that is applicable to those provisions.

(c) Notwithstanding (a) of this section, if one of the parties to an action for divorce or action declaring a marriage void expressly submits to the court the issue of property division and has not withdrawn that issue from the court before judgment, the court shall provide in the judgment for the division of property and may not reserve the issue of property division for a later time unless the conditions of AS 25.24.155 have been met.

(d) For each judgment issued under this section, the court shall include in the records relating to the matter the social security numbers, if ascertainable, of the following persons:

(1) each party to the action;

(2) each child whose rights are addressed in the judgment.

(e) When distributing property identified as community property under a community property agreement or trust under AS 34.77, unless the parties have provided in the agreement or trust for another disposition of the community property, the court shall make such disposition of the community property as shall appear just and equitable after considering all relevant factors, including

(1) the nature and extent of the community property;

(2) the nature and extent of the separate property;

(3) the duration of the marriage; and

(4) the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or right to live in the family home for reasonable periods to a spouse with whom the children reside the majority of the time.

Credits
SLA 1962, ch. 101, § 12.14; SLA 1966, ch. 84, § 1; SLA 1968, ch. 160, §§ 2--6; SLA 1974, ch. 127, §§ 72, 73; SLA 1976, ch. 251, § 5; SLA 1985, ch. 40, § 3; SLA 1986, ch. 37, § 40; SLA 1986, ch. 117, § 27; SLA 1990, ch. 130, § 6; SLA 1990, ch. 133, § 5; SLA 1991, ch. 76, § 3; SLA 1997, ch. 87, § 43; SLA 1998, ch. 42, § 6; SLA 1998, ch. 132, § 14; SLA 2001, ch. 52, § 3; SLA 2006, ch. 80, § 46, eff. July 1, 2006. Amended by SLA 2016, ch. 60, § 19, eff. Jan. 17, 2017.

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