Navigational bar, Family Law Self-Help Center, with photo of a totem pole Return to the Family Law Home page Family Law Forms & Instructions Frequently Asked Questions Glossary of Family Law Terms Alaska Court System website Feedback form

Finishing the Case: Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Decree and Judgment

What are these and why do I need them?

Your case is not finished until the judge signs the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and the Decree and Judgment. These are the documents necessary to actually get you divorced, distribute the property and debt or establish a final custody order.

Who writes them up?

Sometimes the judge will create these documents. In most instances, however, the judge will ask one of the parties to submit them. If a lawyer is involved in the case, the judge will often assign this task to the lawyer.

What happens if the other side writes them up and they say something different than I expected?

Once the proposed documents have been submitted and served on you, you have 5 days to object. See Civil Rule 78(b) Adobe Acrobat PDF logo. If it doesn't seem like the documents says what you thought was going to be the final decision of the court, and you think the document should be changed, you must file objections. You may use the CR 78 Objections form, SHC-1635 (Word | PDF).

Return to top of page

Can I easily change a final order?

No. Once the judge signs the final paperwork - usually a decree, findings of fact and conclusions of law, possibly an order or a judgment - the decision is final and binding. The final documents outline the parties’ rights and responsibilities on the issues that they address.

You can only modify an order in very specific situations.

For custody, you need to show that there has been a change in circumstances. This means something has happened so that the old parenting plan is no longer in the child(ren)'s best interests. To learn more about modifying a custody order, see the modification section.

For child support, there needs to be:

For property and debt division, it is very difficult to change the outcome of final property and debt decisions in a divorce or dissolution case. Once the court order divides and distributes property and debt to a specific person, that person may take action that is very hard or impossible to reverse. For example, if a spouse is awarded the house from the marriage, he may sell the house. At that point, it would be impossible to get the house back if the other spouse thinks something different should have happened with the house. Also, the court could order one spouse to receive a sum of money from the marriage. The receiving spouse may spend that money and not be able to get it back.

If you want to ask the court to change a property or debt division order, you can file:

Return to top of page


Please use the forms for the kind of case you have - each form is different and will be rejected by the court if you file the wrong one.

NOTE: You do not prepare these forms for a dissolution case; the judge will take care of it.

Custody Case (unmarried parents with children)

Divorce with Children & Property (Long, i.e. property or debt to be divided by the court)

Divorce with Children & Property (Short, i.e. no property or debt to be divided by the court)

Divorce with Property But No Children (Long, i.e. property or debt to be divided by the court)

Divorce with Property But No Children (Short, i.e. no property or debt to be divided by the court)

Return to top of page

Rev. 6 June 2012
© Alaska Court System
Contact Us

Adobe Acrobat PDF logo You'll need to download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view and print documents with this symbol. If you are using a screen reader, get support and information at the Adobe Access website.