Child Support in Alaska

Learn how child support works in Alaska, including how to calculate support under the state’s guidelines, how to get help collecting payments, and how to change the support amounts.

Updated by , Retired Judge
Updated by Stacy Barrett, Attorney · UC Law San Francisco
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When parents of minor children split up, some of the most pressing and potentially challenging questions they face involve child support—who has to pay and how much the payments will be.

Alaska has guidelines for calculating child support that are based on each parent's income and parenting plan.

Using Alaska Child Support Guidelines

Both parents, whether they are married to one another or not, have a legal obligation to provide financial support to their children. In Alaska, as in all other states, judges must follow specific guidelines to determine the amount of child support one parent may be required to pay to the other. These guidelines are set out in Civil Rule 90.3.

Parents can estimate the amount of child support an Alaska court may order by completing Form DR-305 (Child Support Guidelines Affidavit). Here are the court's tips for how to fill out the affidavit.

To calculate child support in Alaska you need to know:

  • each parent's income, and
  • your custody schedule—primary, shared, divided, or hybrid.


Income is money you receive from sources other than needs-based public benefits or one-time, lump sum payments. Wages, salary, overtime, unemployment, disability, worker's compensation, and employer-provided housing and food are all examples of income. If your income varies significantly from year to year, you might be able to use an average of your income from the last few years.

After figuring out each parent's monthly or annual gross income, you'll need to calculate your net income. This is determined by taking the gross income and subtracting deductions allowed under Rule 90.3, such as certain taxes, mandatory union dues, some retirement contributions, court-ordered payments for prior spouses and children, and the cost of necessary work-related child care.

Income and deductions for tax purposes aren't the same as income and deductions for child support purposes, so be sure to read and carefully follow Alaska Court guidelines for how to fill out the necessary child support forms.

Parenting Time Schedule

The percentage of each parent's net income that will be included in a child support order depends on the amount of time each parent spends with the children. For child support purposes, there are four possible physical custody arrangements:

  • primary
  • shared
  • divided, and
  • hybrid.

In any of the custody scenarios, the minimum permissible support amount is $50 per month, even if the guidelines calculation gives a lower amount. This $50 per month is for all the children, not for each child separately.

Primary Custody

A parent who lives with the children more than 70% of the year has primary physical custody in Alaska. This usually means the children stay with that parent for at least 256 overnights during the year.

To calculate child support in a primary custody arrangement, multiply the noncustodial parent's annual net income by 20% for one child, 27% for two children, and 33% for three children. If there are more than three children, add 3% for each additional child.

In a primary custody situation, if a non-custodial parent exercises extended visitation time with a child, the judge may allow that parent a credit against the child support amount, even if the extended visitation time doesn't equal the 30% needed for shared custody (see below). The judge will determine the amount of the credit, if any.

Shared Custody

A shared custody arrangement in Alaska means the children live with each parent at least 30% of the year (110 or more overnights), according to a specified visitation schedule in the support order.

In a shared custody arrangement, a judge first calculates a support amount for each parent based on the parent's percentage of physical custody time. The parent with the higher amount is the parent who pays support. To calculate the amount of support, the judge subtracts the smaller support amount (we'll refer to this as Parent A's amount) from the higher support amount (Parent B's amount). Then, the judge takes the difference between the two amounts and multiplies that by 1.5. The result is the amount Parent B will pay to Parent A.

Judges assume that in shared custody arrangements each parent pays for a considerable percentage of child-related expenses while the kids are with that parent. For example, if one parent has the kids for a week, that parent will likely spend money on kid-related food, clothing, and entertainment. If that assumption is wrong, or if one parent decides not to spend their allotted amount of time with the children as provided in the parenting plan, an adjustment may be appropriate. You can calculate the support amount for shared custody using Form DR-306.

Divided Custody

Divided custody means each parent has primary physical custody of at least one child from the relationship, and the parents don't have shared custody of any of their children. To determine support in these situations, the guidelines look separately at each parent who has primary physical custody of one or more children.

For example, Parent A has primary custody of two children, and Parent B has primary custody of one. Technically, the parents owe each other child support, because each of them has primary custody of a child. The guidelines calculate how much child support each parent would owe. It then subtracts one from the other, and if one parent owes more, that parent pays that difference. You can calculate the support amount for divided custody using Form DR-307.

Hybrid Custody

In a hybrid custody situation, at least one of the parents has primary physical custody of at least one child of the relationship, and the parents have shared custody of at least one other child.

Determining hybrid custody support is a multi-step process. You can calculate the support amount for this particular custody arrangement using Form DR-308.

Alaska law deems divided custody and hybrid custody to be "unusual circumstances," which allows a judge to vary the support amounts in these cases if the judge believes by clear and convincing evidence that ordering the support guidelines figure would be "manifestly" unjust.

Health Insurance

If health care coverage for the children is available to one or both parents for free or at a reasonable cost (typically 5% or less than the adjusted annual income of the parent who is required to purchase the insurance), a judge will order one of the parents to purchase coverage and will generally order both parents to share the cost equally, unless there's a good reason to order unequal payments.

Children's health care expenses that aren't covered by insurance are typically shared by the parents. Your custody order should tell you what percent or amount each parent must pay. You can file a motion for health care reimbursement if necessary.

Exceptions to Guidelines

A judge may deviate from the child support guidelines if there are unusual circumstances that make the guideline unjust. Examples of unusual circumstances include:

  • hybrid or divided custody
  • an especially large family size
  • very high or low family income
  • a child with significant income, and
  • health or other extraordinary expenses.

If a judge orders support in an amount that differs from the guidelines, it must specify the reasons for doing so in writing.

Imputed Income for Child Support

Parents can't avoid their child support obligations by quitting a job or failing to conduct an adequate job search. If the judge finds that a parent is voluntarily and unreasonably unemployed or underemployed, it may impute income to a parent by estimating the parent's potential income based on factors such as work history, qualifications, and existing job opportunities in the area. The child support may then be based on what the parent could be earning, rather than what the parent is actually earning.

A judge won't impute income for a parent who is physically or mentally incapacitated, or who is caring for a child under two years of age (assuming both parents are legally responsible for the child).

If a parent is making a career change, the judge will consider whether or not the children would benefit from the change. The judge also may impute potential income for non-income or low-income producing assets.

Modifying the Support Order

A parent seeking to change or modify a child support order must generally show that there has been a material change in circumstances. The guidelines presume that a change in circumstances is material if it would result in a 15% difference in the support amount under the guideline calculation. Changed circumstances may include significant changes in a parent's income or in the custody arrangements.

For example, if a noncustodial parent gets a new job that pays significantly more than the income used to calculate the current support order, the custodial parent may make a motion to modify to increase child support. Or if the noncustodial parent is laid off and can only find a job that pays significantly less than the old job, that parent may make a motion to modify to decrease child support. Similarly, if a parenting plan goes from primary custody to shared custody, it would be appropriate to ask a judge to modify the new child support order.

Does a Remarriage Impact Child Support in Alaska?

In Alaska, remarriage generally won't affect child support. A new spouse's income isn't part of a child support calculation.

Also, Alaska typically doesn't consider having children with a new partner to be a change in circumstance that justifies a modification of child support for an existing child. For purposes of calculating child support, Alaska Civil Rule 90.3 allows a deduction from income for child support orders—but only for children from prior relationships who were born or adopted before the children in the current case.

However, if getting remarried or having a child with a new partner somehow causes a significant change in the previous custody arrangement or in the earning capacity of the parent paying support, those changes might justify a modification.

Termination of Child Support

Normally child support ends when a child turns 18 or is otherwise emancipated. However, you can petition the judge for an order to continue support past a child's 18th birthday if the child is:

  • pursuing a high school diploma or an equivalent level of vocational training
  • unmarried, and
  • living as a dependent with a parent or guardian.

This order may provide for the support to be paid directly to the child, upon terms and conditions the judge considers appropriate.

Alaska Child Support Enforcement

The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) of the Alaska State Department of Revenue helps parents in the state obtain child support orders, locate absent parents, establish paternity if necessary, and enforce child support court orders.

If you have a child support order in Alaska, you can get help from the CSED to collect the payments. The CSED has several tools to enforce child support orders, including:

  • wage withholding
  • tax offsets
  • property liens
  • bank account freezing
  • license suspensions and revocations, and
  • contempt of court.

Help and More Resources on Child Support

Issues surrounding children and money are complex and can be emotionally fraught. If your situation involves complicated financial issues or significant conflict, consider talking to a family law attorney.

In addition to the child support services you can get from the CSED, you can find forms and information about child support on the Alaska Courts Self-Help Center site. The site includes a guideline calculator that can help you estimate the amount of child support a judge might order in your case, as well as an FAQ on enforcing child support. You can also find additional child support information on

Despite these resources, there are times when you should speak with a family law attorney for help with child support, especially if you or your co-parent is seeking a child support order or modification of an existing order that deviates from the guidelines, or if a dispute about custody will affect child support.

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