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Questions Answered by Stefan Otterson
1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: If I die does my son’s father automatically get custody?

My son and I left Alaska when he was less than a year old, and his father hasn’t seen him since. They Skype, and he follows his child support order. We have joint legal custody and I have primary physical custody. My son is now 7, and I want to know if his grandmother has any rights to him, or... Read more »

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Sep 11, 2020

Yes.

It's not even clear that any action by the court would be needed. He was already able to exercise legal custody, and after your death, he would have the clear right to physical custody.

Grandparents would have no right to custody, though they could ask for...
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1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: The father of my childern lost custody of my childern to ocs, they didnt call me to pick up my kids

Now ocs is saying my house needs to be cleared to get my kids back. There was an incident that happened with the father and his new gf, and the officer involved instead of taking them into custody wrote an ocs report. My childern were not present in that altercation. The following morning I went to... Read more »

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Jun 29, 2020

There is no simple answer to your question, other than the following general principles.

1. Make contact with the social worker and cooperate with OCS to get yourself and anyone else in your home checked and cleared.

2. Unless you can afford a private attorney, submit a request to...
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1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Alaska on
Q: My ex girlfriend and i have 2 children together.there is no legal custody agreement.i have always had them on the weeken

Weekends holidays and most of the summer.the kids want to be with me more but when i go to pick them up there mother locks the door and wont let them out of her house is that legal?also what can i do about it and what are my rights as a father

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Apr 7, 2020

Your rights are exactly the same as the mother's. However, there's nothing to spell out what that means. If the two of you don't agree how to manage in that completely undefined environment, then either of you can file a Complaint for Custody with the court. Ideally you would... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Alaska on
Q: Divorced in AK & I was awarded spousal support & right to move to out of state. He isn't paying my support.

He keeps making motions knowing I am running out of money to pay to defend them plus I can't afford to keep flying to Alaska. I have to take care of my child (who I was awarded full custody of) plus the airfare is just another expense.

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Nov 18, 2019

If you win those motions, you can ask the court to have him pay a portion of your costs and attorney's fees.

You can participate in the hearings by phone. It would take some extra work to file exhibits, etc. in advance, and it's not as good as being there, but it would send a...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Criminal Law and Family Law for Alaska on
Q: Can we move out of state with our child and have the cases transferred

Our son is a child in need of aid but the court granted us full custody and rights over our child. We were in the process of moving to Texas to be with family can we still move and have our case transferred. We have another hearing in 6 months and how fast can we leave

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Oct 10, 2019

More information is needed to answer you question. Child custody jurisdiction usually requires that you and the child reside in the new state for at least 6 months before that state can handle custody matters. However, that's not automatic, and if the other parent still resides in the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Civil Rights for Alaska on
Q: My 19 month old was taken without notification an unfounded. How do I get her back now?!

My 19 year old daughter took my 19 month old for an overnight visit she went to OCS and she said the father and I are on heroin which is unfounded and a lie we both have random UA's for different reasons. him-Court reasons and myself-my doctor. it is a completely false allegation my daughter... Read more »

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Jul 22, 2019

Call OCS (269-4000 if you're in Anchorage). Give your child's name and ask to be connected with the assigned social worker. You'll probably get voicemail, so leave all your contact info and let him/her know you have not received notice. If you don't reach the social worker... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Alaska on
Q: My husband works away from the home for weeks at a time and has left us how can I get him counseling so we dont divorce?

My husband just decided that I’m evil and he doesn’t love me but I know he does he runs away from his family he won’t talk to any of us his wife or kid he left me with the house which I can’t afford I was a stay at home mom for 15 years and he forced me into a job I have no education and I... Read more »

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Jun 10, 2019

There really isn't any legal process you can use to prevent a divorce from happening or to force a spouse into counseling. If he does file a divorce complaint and custody is at issue, the court will sometimes order a party (more often both parties) to be evaluated, but that's only if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: OCS hasn't taken custody from me yet,but are going to. currently my mother has temp guardianship but ocs says that she

Is not a good match because she has had ocs calls on my younger brother. Any past cases have been closed and have been for several years with her so can I give full custody to my mom without OCS approval

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on May 30, 2019

Your question is a good one, but there's no way to assess whether your mother would be a suitable placement based on the number of years since prior calls. It depends on what the prior calls were about, and whether OCS determined she had committed abuse or neglect, and what type. Also... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: I would like to move out of AK, I am not married to the father. Can I take the child out of the State? Is it legal?

I can not afford an Attorney, is there any way to ask for physical custody without one? What are my best options as the sole provider

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on May 23, 2019

Yes, you can take the child out of state. Either parent can legally do that. Just be aware that without a custody order, the other parent can also legally come to the other state, pick the child up from school or daycare, and take the child back to Alaska. The fact that it's legal... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: My parents are withholding my 2 children from me with only their Father’s consent is this legal? There is no court orde

We live in Alaska. The children’s father is working on the North Slope

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Mar 21, 2019

A power of attorney from one parent doesn't affect the other parent's rights. You can still do anything you would do if you were dealing directly with the father instead of the grandparents. However, you need to be careful in taking children from someone who has been the primary... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Alaska on
Q: Ocs just overturned a substantiated finding of neglect. Can I now regain full custody as per the custody order?

My live-in boyfriend is still in the appeal process for a substantiated sexual abuse finding with "no further intervention"

Is it ok to bring my daughter back into the home without the worry of ocs?

The overturned neglect finding was for me.

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Feb 8, 2019

This is a delicate area, in the sense that the consequences of a mis-step can be grave. I think any lawyer would hesitate to say yes or no without a thorough discussion of the facts and a review of the OCS paperwork. Even then, OCS can be unpredictable in how they interpret their actions and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: OCS took kids they are with family we have not been charged with anything yet. Can I leave the state to get this drop?

They are saying Im neglectful and my husband is the abuser of the child 2 children are mine and the three little ones are ours. we will be charged Thursday, so I'm I allowed to leave the state with the children or will the children to be able to the state with family. Trying to see the best... Read more »

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Dec 17, 2018

It's hard to tell from the limited details you give, but if OCS actually took your kids, then they have custody. You will probably be served with a Petition very soon. The OCS case does not require you to stay in the state, but you won't be able to take the children that OCS removed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Alaska on
Q: My granddaughter was taking from my daughter by OCS can I get her back
Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Nov 29, 2018

There's not enough information in your question to say more than "maybe," but that's usually the answer anyway. There is a possibility that your daughter could get the child returned to her if she agrees to a safety plan and follows through. Even if OCS keeps custody, they... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: My ex and me hav 2 kids 9 months and a 2 year old. I’m planning to leave state he won’t allow me no and he agreed before

We have no custody agreement and have never been to court what will happen if I live with him saying I can’t? I have the children 95% of the time.

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Nov 19, 2018

There's nothing to stop you from leaving. Both of you have equal rights, so there's nothing stopping him from leaving with the kids either. If you leave without working it out with him first, he can file for a custody order and ask the court to order the kids returned to Alaska.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: How can we move out of state with a 50/50 custody plan? I am the mother with a significant other. I have no family here.

We are seeking help in trying to figure out how we can leave state with a 50/50 custody agreement. There are three children involved. Thier father has his immediate and extended family all reside in Alaska and all three children were born here. I have no family here and limited opportunity to... Read more »

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Sep 25, 2018

When you say we, I assume you mean you want to take the children with you, but the father would stay here. Unless you have an unusual custody schedule, you won't be able to follow it after you leave. That means you need either an agreement to change the schedule (and the custody percentage)... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: Ex wife and I share 50/50 custody. She sent the kids out of state without my permission. Is there anything I can do?
Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Jul 31, 2018

It depends on whether you're talking about a long-term or short-term trip out of state. If it's long term, then she isn't allowing you to have the children 50% of the time, and you can file a motion to enforce the shared custody. If it's a short term trip during her time, it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Domestic Violence for Alaska on
Q: My boyfriend is an addict with a history of domestic violence in previous relationship. Can I take our 2 kids and leave?

I will move 45 miles away to my mothers home. What steps should I take to protect myself and my children and my mother from possible retaliation? I want to know for sure that he can't use my children to manipulate and control me after I get away from him. I'm poor and I have no financial... Read more »

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Jul 8, 2018

If you have no court order governing custody, you can do whatever is reasonable under the circumstances. However the father has equal rights, so you will need to get a court order. If there has been domestic violence, then you should get a restraining order. This is something you can do without... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: What age can a child say they dont want to go over to the other parents house in alaska?

Step son is 14, and does not want to come to our house anymore. His mom is saying since hes 14 he gets to make the choice.

Custody in the court says 50/50 with trade on fridays.

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Jul 8, 2018

A child never gets to make that choice, as it is an adult decision. If the parents don't agree, the court will consider the preference of a sufficiently mature child along with all the other factors. Preference alone is usually not the determinative factor. However from about age 14, the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Alaska on
Q: Can I leave Alaska with my 2 month old child if not legally married?

I have a new baby with my boyfriend. The relationship is struggling and he repeatedly has asked me to leave. I don't have anywhere to go. My family is in Texas. I cannot financially provide for my child and need to move home with my family where there will be financial help and my mother... Read more »

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Apr 30, 2018

There is nothing to prevent you from moving, if that's what you need to do. Just do it in a way that respects the father's rights. The best practice is to file a custody case before you go, and get interim approval from the court for your move. If you don't have the resources... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Alaska on
Q: If my 2 prior children were taken by ocs, and i have another child, will ocs automatically have rights to get involved?

When my children were taken, i was on drugs and missed alot of court. I am since clean and have bought a house. Is having another child an option without having to be scared of ocs getting involved? My mother adopted my 2 kids and will not allow me to see them. Do i have any rights for visitations?

Stefan Otterson
Stefan Otterson answered on Apr 17, 2018

First, OCS will only get involved if someone makes a report. If you have normal pre-natal care and are not under the influence of anything when you give birth, the hospital probably won't report. However, if your mother isn't convinced you're clean and sober she could file a... Read more »

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