According to United States federal law, each state must establish rules and guidelines for child support and support enforcement. In Alaska, these guidelines are established under Rule 90.3 of the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure.
Alaska's rules governing support calculations are fairly simple.Support payments are based on the non-custodial parent's annual income and type of custody arrangement.
Parents with primary custody have the children 70 percent of the year or more. If the non-custodial parent or guardian has the child more than 110 nights per year, then you will need to use a calculation for shared custody, divided custody, or hybrid custody. The calculation for primary custody is as follows:
- Calculate the non-custodial parent's gross income minus deductions to determine the adjusted gross income (AI).
- Multiply AI x 20 percent for one child; 27 percent for two kids, 33 percent for three kids, or an additional three percent for each child after three kids.
Divided custody occurs when each parent has primary custody of one or more children (greater than 30 percent of the year). If parents share custody of one or more children, then divided custody does not apply. Parents with divided custody should complete the DR-307 divided custody calculation worksheet.
This situation occurs when parents have primary custody of some children and divided custody of others. To calculate support, complete the DR-308 worksheet.
Alaska has rules that differ from federal tax reporting about what constitutes income as it relates to child support. Income includes (but isn't limited to):
- Veterans' benefits
- Retirement income
- Rental income
- Disability, Social Security Disability Insurance, or unemployment payments
- In-kind benefits from your employment, such as meals or housing
Please visit the Rule 90.3 link for all sources of income to consider.
The following are not typically considered income:
- One-time lump sum payments such as a settlement
- Alaska Temporary Assistance Payments (ATAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Gross income calculations for child support do allow for some limited deductions:
- Support payments for other children
- Alimony payments
- Work-related child care for kids subject to the order
It is important to note the above deductions must actually be paid and not just court ordered in order to consider them deductions.
In some cases, the courts may need to apply special calculations, such as in cases of unemployment, under-employment, or self-employment. Other special circumstances for deviations from the standard include:
- Joint agreement by both parties
- Financial hardship to subsequent children (those born after the support order)
- Low or high income of one parent
The courts require each parent to provide health insurance for the child(ren) if it is available from an employer or group plan at a reasonable cost. Allocation of insurance costs is 50/50 among both parents. Uncovered expenses are allocated at 50/50 up to $5,000 per year, with the parent not seeking the health care services reimbursing the other parent within 30 days. Non-covered expenses over $5,000 per year are allocated based upon parents' relative incomes.
Whenever Alaska courts make a custody order, a child support order must be entered, as well. Parents seeking child support should hire an attorney or petition the courts. If you choose to petition the courts yourself, you will need the following:
- Form DR-305
- Required financial information
- Affidavit outlining any special circumstances that may affect support calculations, such as special medical or educational expenses
- A Notice of Filing, Complaint, Answer to Complaint, Dissolution, or Motion
When seeking child support, make three copies.
- File one copy with the court.
- Send one copy to your spouse's attorney.
- Keep one copy for yourself.
Child support orders can be modified in some circumstances, including:
- A substantial and permanent change in income that would alter payments by 15 percent or more
- Health care coverage becomes available to either parent where it wasn't before
- Physical custody changes
To request modification of support, visit your local Child Support Services Division (CSSD) office and ask for a Request for Modification form or complete a Motion to Modify Support, Visitation, and Custody packet to file with the courts.
Alaska Child Support Services Division
The CSSD helps parents with all aspects of support, making it easier for parents to file the necessary paperwork to obtain support orders. Likewise, CSSD can serve as support enforcement when a parent does not pay. To seek support from CSSD, complete one of the following forms:
Payers can make payments to CSSD in several ways, including Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Western Union, payroll deduction, or by check. Payees receive payments via electronic transfer to a free debit card.
Child support is a legal obligation that exists for the benefit of your children. If you are entitled to child support or required to pay it, you can get started on establishing your order of support by applying to CSSD as outlined above or hiring an attorney.