Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a phone consultation or video conference is appropriate for your situation.

Wyatt Butterfield LLC logo

We Can Help. Call Now.


Family Law For Men.
Estate Planning And Elder Law For Everyone.

Family Law For Men.
Estate Planning And Elder Law For Everyone.

Property division in a divorce: top 4 factors Alaska judges use

by | Apr 5, 2018 | Blog

As soon as individuals marry, they begin to acquire assets. Many purchase their first home, buy vehicles, and start investing in retirement accounts. Unfortunately, for a wide variety of reasons, marriages simply don’t work out.

Whether a relationship dissolves after one year or two decades, couples who have decided to divorce often have the same questions and concerns. One of the biggest questions asked is: Who gets the property?

Asset division in Alaska: fair and equitable

People often believe that marital assets are assessed for value and simply split in equal shares between each party in a divorce.

This is a myth; the state of Alaska uses what’s known as equitable distribution when dividing assets. This means that instead of dividing marital assets equally between the parties, a family law judge will distribute assets fairly and will base the distribution on a couple’s individual circumstances.

The top four factors

Judges often look at a long list of factors when determining how to divide assets fairly. However, judges almost always examine the following:

  1. Each party’s earning capacity: A judge will examine each party’s current employment, employment prospect post-divorce, their education and training as well as a party’s length of absence from the job market during the marriage.
  2. The length of the marriage: A judge will always examine how long a couple has been married. A marriage that lasted less than a year will be scrutinized differently than a couple who opts to divorce after 20 years of marriage.
  3. Each party’s health: A judge will often look at each party’s health and wellbeing when allocating assets. For example, a judge will scrutinize the distribution for an individual who needs specific medical care and treatment differently than a divorcing couple who are both in good health.  
  4. A party’s unreasonable depletion of assets: If a divorce is pending, a judge will take into account a party’s activity regarding the couple’s joint finances, such as draining a bank account or selling a family heirloom.

Although this list is by no means comprehensive, the above are common factors courts in Alaska will use to determine asset distribution in a divorce. Judges will use other factors if, for instance, a party is an active service member or owns a family business.