When talking about who will have "custody" of the child, we are referring to two related but different concepts.  Physical custody relates to the living arrangement of the child.  Either parent may become the primary physical custodian, in which case the other parent will be designated as the non-custodial parent and will visit with the child only during specific times. Parents may also share physical custody of the child.  While the split may not be 50/50, the child will live with each parent for a substantial amount of time during the course of a calendar year.

Legal custody has to do with the authority to make important decisions for your child, most importantly, their health and education.  Either one or the other parent will have sole discrretion to make decisions for the child or the parents will have joint legal custody and will have to agreed on important decisions made together.  The court traditionally likes to see parents make decisions for their child together.

In determining what you consider the best custody arrangement given your situation, you must determine whether a preferred scenario or visitation arrangement is acheivable in court.  

In court, the best interest of the child is paramount.  In determining what is in the best interests of the child, the court considers specific statutory factors, such as the ability of each parent to care for the child, the physical and emotional needs of the child, the stability of the home, the current visitation arrangement, the child's preferences and any evidence that it is detrimental to the child to be with a parent due to substance abuse, domestic violence, or mental health concerns.  In most cases, the child is best served by having two equally involved parents. 

Depending on your situation, there are a number of different visitation arrangements and options to consider.  Let us help you navigate through your custody case and make an informed decision on what course of action best suits your family. 

Modifications & Enforcement of Orders

We can also help you modify a current child custody and visitation agreement.  As your child grows and life changes, a change may also be needed to a previously ordered custody or visitation arrangement.   

A custody or visitation arrangement can be modified when there has been a change in circumstances and the arrangement is no longer in the child’s best interest.   Common examples are a parent relocating, an incident of domestic violence, or a scheduling conflict once the child is school age. 

Is the other parent interfering with your visitation?  Is the other parent no following the visitation schedule in the order?  We can help you enforce the custody or visitation order.  


In Alaska, relocation by a parent to another geographic location in the state, to a different state or country altogether is fairly common.  Before you make plans to move with your child, you should discuss your case with an attorney as the court has discretion to deny your request to relocate your child.   We represent parents who are seeking to relocate with their child and those opposing relocation.