In Alaska, if parents of minor children are unable to agree on custody and visitation, the Alaska Superior Court will make a determination of what it feels is in the child’s best interest.
This is a very emotional time for parents and the legal process can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. There may be several stages of a custody proceeding, including interim motions, hearings, and orders; a variety of applicable motions and discovery that vary from case to case; status hearings, and a final custody trial. There are opportunities for the resolution of custody disputes via mediation and settlement conferences if both parties agree to participate.
Often parents have substance abuse and/or domestic violence problems that are relevant to the court’s determination of what is in the child’s best interest. Alaska has a domestic violence statute that under some factual scenarios prevents a parent from having shared legal or physical custody.
Unmarried couples often file custody cases to get their rights to their child(ren) enforced by the court. In some cases, paternity may need to be established.
An attorney can help you understand the process, advise you on the rights of everyone involved, advise you on the options and possible outcomes, draft and answer motions and other required legal documents, and represent you before the court. I have experience litigating and reaching agreements in all of the above scenarios. It is very important to obtain a custody agreement or order that addresses issues that may arise in the future to try and avoid future litigation.