Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I represent myself?

The short answer is "yes."  Visit the Alaska Court System's Family Law Self Help Center for forms and further information.

How can an attorney help me?

An attorney has the knowledge and experience to conduct thorough discovery (gather and exchange documents and information), analyze the facts of your case, research and draft legal arguments, engage in negotiations, and focus the issues to most effectively present them to the judge at trial.   

When do I need an attorney?

We recommend hiring an attorney in your family law matter in a number of circumstances. Having the assistance of an attorney will be especially helpful if there are allegations of domestic violence against you, allegations you have a substance abuse addiction, you have any pending criminal charges, you are being investigated by the Office of Children's Services, or the opposing party is represented by an attorney.   

I am being accused of domestic violence. How will that affect my custody case?

Alaska law prohibits a parent who has a "history" of domestic violence from having unsupervised visitation with his/her children unless certain cirumstances exist.  You should speak to an attorney before appearing in court or filing any paperwork to learn more about how this could impact your case and how best to proceed.  

How much will it cost for me to hire an attorney?

The total cost to litigate a family law matter depends on the complexity of the case and your unique circumstances.  For example, a custody case where there are allegations of domestic violence or substance abuse generally costs more than a custody case where the parents agree there are no safety concerns in either party's home.

How long will it take for my case to be completed?

In most cases, it will take 6 to 12 months from the time of filing, or longer, for your case to proceed to trial.  It can take up to six months after your trial to get an answer from the judge.