What Rights Come with Legal Marriage?
— Alaska —
© 2003, Demian


This is a partial list of the legal marriage laws in the State of Alaska. These 115 rights and responsibilities — out of many more laws that are triggered by legal marriage — show the variety of societal and business interactions built into legal marriage. This list provides a glimpse of what is at stake by the denial of access to legal marriage.

While all states generally cover similar legal areas, there are state-by-state differences. Besides the state laws, the U.S. Federal system also has more than 1,138 laws which are triggered by legal marriage. [See U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married.]

Almost all states offer some form of the following marital rights:

  • to not be forced to testify in court against each other;
  • ability to make medical decisions on each other’s behalf;
  • to seek wrongful death compensation;
  • access to a decedent’s estate in the absence of a will;
  • to maintain life and disability insurance on a spouse;
  • eligibility for worker’s compensation death benefits; and
  • to automatically hold property as tenants in common.

The following are specific law references filed as evidence (Revised Exhibit 4) in the case of Brause and Dugan v. The State of Alaska, a suit to allow same-sex marriage. [See Alaska Court Finding - Feb. 27, 1998.] In light of a 1998 ballot measure limiting marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and prohibiting any legal recognition of same-sex marriage, the litigants decided to stop pursuing the suit for legal marriage. [See Legal Marriage Court Cases — A Timeline.]
Revised Exhibit 4
Law Effect
1. AS 04.16.049. Alcoholic Beverages. Access of Persons under the age of 21 to licensed premises. A person under 21 may enter or remain on licensed premises if accompanied by spouse.
2. AS 04.16.051. Alcoholic Beverages. Furnishing or delivery of alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21. Spouse may furnish or deliver alcohol to underage spouse if not on licensed premises.
3. AS 06.05.435. Banks and Financial Institutions. Directors. Par value stock co-owned by spouse qualifies for minimum stock ownership required of bank director.
4. AS 09.38.030 (e) (4) Code of Civil Procedure. Exemption of earnings and liquid assets. Proceeds or benefits payable on death of spouse are exempt from judgment execution.
5. AS 09.38.090. Code of Civil Procedure. Assertion of rights by another. Spouse of judgment debtor may assert rights to exempt property from execution.
6. AS 09.38.095 (a). Code of Civil Procedure. Judicial relief. Spouse is entitled to relief against person who violates Alaska Exemption Act.
7. AS 09.55.580 (a). Survival and Wrongful Death Actions. Action for wrongful death. Wrongful death action is maintained for benefit of spouse and children.
8. AS 13.12.102. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Share of spouse. Spouse entitled to intestate share of decedent’s intestate estate.
9. AS 13.12.202. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Chapter 12. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Elective share. Spouse has right to elective share of estate.
10. AS 13.12.203. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Composition of the augmented estate. Concerning the augmented estate subject to the elective share of spouse.
11. AS 13.12.204. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Decedent’s net probate estate. Concerning the augmented estate subject to the elective share of spouse.
12. AS 13.12.205. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships. and Trusts. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Decedent’s non-probate transfers to others. Concerning the augmented estate subject to the elective share of spouse.
13. AS 13-12.206. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Decedent’s non-probate transfers to the surviving spouse. Concerning the augmented estate subject to the elective share of spouse.
14. AS 13.12.207. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Surviving spouse’s property and non-probate transfers to others. Concerning the augmented estate subject to the elective share of spouse.
15. AS 13.12.208. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianship’s and Trusts. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Exclusions, Valuation, and Overlapping Application. Concerning the augmented estate subject to the elective share of spouse.
16. AS 13.12.209. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Sources from which elective share payable. Concerning the elective share of spouse.
17. AS 13.12.212. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Right of election personal to surviving spouse; incapacitated surviving spouse. Concerning the elective share of spouse.
18. AS 13.12.301. Spouse and Children not provided for in Wills. Entitlement of spouse; premarital will. Right of spouse to intestate share of estate where testator executes will after marriage.
19. AS 13.12.402. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Homestead allowance. Right of spouse to homestead allowance.
20. AS 13.12.403. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Exempt property. Right of spouse to exempt property from estate.
21. AS 13.12.404. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Family allowance. Right of spouse to family allowance.
22. AS 13.16.065. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Priority among persons seeking appointment as personal representative. Priority of surviving spouse to administer a decedent’s estate.
23. AS 13.16.150. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Formal testacy proceeding; notice of hearing on petition. Right of surviving spouse to notice of formal testacy proceeding.
24. AS 13.16.535. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Successors rights if no administration. Rights of surviving spouse if no administration of estate.
25. AS 13.26.095. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Guardians of Incapacitated Persons. Testamentary appointment of guardian for incapacitated person. Right of spouse of married incapacitated person to appoint by will a guardian for such person.
26. AS 13.26.135. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Guardians of Incapacitated Persons. Notices in guardianship proceedings. Right of spouse to notice in guardianship proceedings.
27. AS 13.26.145 (c) (d). Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Guardians of Incapacitated Persons. Who may be guardian; priorities. Right of spouse to be guardian of incapacitated person despite insubstantial conflict of interest.

Priority of spouse to be guardian of incapacitated person.

28. AS 13.26.185. Decedent’s Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Protection of Property of Persons Under Disability and Minors. Notice. Right of spouse to notice for appointment of conservator or other protective order.
29. AS 13.26.210. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Protection of Property of Persons Under Disability and Minors. Who may be appointed conservator; priorities. Right of spouse to priority for appointment as conservator.
30. AS 13.33.215. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Multiple-Person Accounts. Rights of creditors and others. Right of surviving spouse to assert liability against surviving party or beneficiary who receives payment from a multiple-person account after death of a party for repayment of proportionate share of amount received.
31. AS 13.50.0103. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. Persons who may execute an anatomical gift. Right of surviving spouse to make anatomical gift from decedent’s body.
32. AS 13.50.060. Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships and Trusts. Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. Rights and duties at death. Right of spouse to body of decedent after removal of anatomical gift.
33. AS 14.25.055. Education, Libraries, and Museums. Supplemental contributions by teachers. Interest of spouse of teacher in the teacher’s pension and right of teachers to make supplemental contributions to state retirement system for spouse’s pension.
34. AS 14.25.155. Education, Libraries, and Museums. Non-occupational death benefits. Right of surviving spouse of teacher to non-occupational death benefits.
35. AS 14.25.157. Education, Libraries, and Museums. Occupational death benefits. Right of surviving spouse of teacher to occupational death benefits.
36. AS 14.25.164. Education, Libraries, and Museums. Spouse’s pension. Right of surviving spouse of teacher to pension.
37. AS 14.25-166. Education, Libraries, and Museums. Designation of beneficiary. Right of spouse to be automatically named as beneficiary to teacher’s state pension.
38. AS 14.25.167. Education, Libraries, and Museums. Joint and survivor option. Right of spouse to be contingent beneficiary to teacher’s state pension.
39. AS 14.25.168. Education, Libraries, and Museums. Medical benefits. Right of spouse of teacher to medical benefits under retirement plan.
40. AS .14.43.085. Free Tuition and Fees for Spouse and Children of Certain Military Personnel. Right to free tuition at state supported educational system for spouse of veteran who died in line of duty or as a result of injuries suffered in line of duty.
41. AS 16.05.407 (A) (2) (A). Fish and Game. Right of nonresident spouse to hunt big game animals accompanied by resident spouse.
42. AS 16.43.150 (h). Fish and Game. Regulation of Entry into Alaska Commercial Fisheries. Automatic transfer to spouse of limited entry permit upon death of permit holder.
43. AS 18.80-220 (c) (1). Discriminatory Practices Prohibited. Unlawful employment practices; exception. Employer can provide greater health and retirement benefits to employees with spouses.
44. AS 21.27.390 (a) (1). Insurance. Temporary license. Right of spouse to temporary insurance license upon death of license holder.
45. AS 21.42.090. Insurance. Right of spouse to effectuate insurance upon the other spouse.
46. AS 21.42.365 (e) (6). Coverage for treatment of alcoholism or drug abuse. Right of spouse to be “covered person” under health insurance policy for treatment of alcoholism or drug abuse.
47. AS 21.45.300 (f). Insurance. Protection of spouse against certain insurance practices regarding cash surrender values.
48. AS 21.48.010 (d). Group Life Insurance. Inclusion of “spouse” as “dependent” for group life insurance statutes.
49. AS 21.51.020 (3). Disability Insurance Policies. Right of spouse to be included on health and disability insurance policy of spouse.
50. AS 21.56.250 (9). Small Employer Health Insurance. Inclusion of “spouse” as “dependent” for small employer health insurance statutes.
51. AS 21.84.200. Fraternal Benefit Societies. Right of spouse to be included on spouse’s application for. fraternal death benefits.
52. AS 22.25.030 (a). Retirement and Death Benefits. Right of spouse of justice or judge to survivors benefits under Court System retirement and death benefits statute.
53. AS 22.25.035. Retirement and Death Benefits. Former spouse of justice or judge to be treated as spouse or surviving spouse under a qualified domestic relations order.
54. AS 22.25.090(a). Retirement and Death Benefits. Right of spouse to medical insurance coverage.
55. AS 23.10.500 (a) (1). Employment Practices and Working Conditions. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Family Leave. Right of spouse to family leave to care for other spouse.
56. AS 23.20.370. Labor and Workers’ Compensation. Right of spouse to receive workers compensation benefits of deceased or incompetent spouse.
57. AS 23.20.378 (1) (a). Alaska Employment Security Act. Right of spouse to be exempt from “able to work and available for suitable work” requirements if accompanying other spouse for medical treatment.
58. AS 23.25.010. Employer’s Liability for Negligence. Right of spouse to be beneficiary of wrongful death action for employer’s negligence.
59. AS 23-30-215. Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act. Compensation for death. Right of spouse to workers compensation death benefits.
60. AS 24.45.051 (4) and 171 (4). Regulation of lobbying. Inclusion of “spouse” within immediate family of public official for purposes of statute requiring reports of gifts and contributions made to public officials by lobbyists.
61. Sec. 24.60.200 and 990 (5). Financial disclosure by legislators and legislative directors. Spouse must be included in financial disclosures.
62. AS 25.20.045. Marital and Domestic Relations. Legitimacy of children conceived by artificial insemination. A child conceived by artificial insemination, born to a married woman, is considered legitimate child of both spouses.
63. AS 25.23.050. Marital and Domestic Relations. Illegitimate child may be legitimated by subsequent marriage.
64. AS 25.23.040. Marital and Domestic Relations. Adoption. Spouse of minor to be adopted has right to consent to adoption.
65. AS 25.23.090 (b). Marital and Domestic Relations. Adoption. Exemption of stepparent spouse from having to file expense report upon adoption, if other spouse is natural or adoptive parent of the child.
66. AS 25.24.010. Marital and Domestic Relations. Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. Right of spouses to divorce.
67. AS 25.24.060. Marital and Domestic Relations. Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. Right of spouses in divorce action to mediation.
68. AS 25.24.140. Marital and Domestic Relations. Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. Orders during action. Right of spouses in divorce action to pendente lite relief.
69. AS 25.24.150. Marital and Domestic Relations. Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. Right of spouses to judgment for custody of children.
70. AS 25.24.160. Marital and Domestic Relations. Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. Right of spouses to divorce judgments adjudicating property rights and spousal support.
71. AS 25.24.200. Marital and Domestic Relations. Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. Right of spouses to dissolve marriage.
72. AS 25.24.230. Marital and Domestic Relations. Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. Right of spouses to judgment for dissolution.
73. AS 26.05.224 (d) (1). Military Affairs and Veterans Retirement benefits. Right of spouse to death benefits for veteran.
74. AS 26.10.080 (a). Military Affairs and Veterans. Veterans. Death gratuity. Right of spouse to death gratuity upon death of veteran.
75. AS 28.15.051 (d). Motor Vehicles. Drivers’ Licenses. Right of spouse to consent to special driver’s permit for person who is at least 14 years of age to drive motorcycle.
76. AS 28.15.071 (a). Motor Vehicles. Driver’s Licenses. Right of spouse to consent to a minor’s driver’s license application.
77. AS 29.45.040 (a) (1). Municipal Government. Municipal Taxation. Eligibility of 60 year old widow or widower to property tax equivalency payments.
78. AS 34. 15. 010 (b). Property. Manner of executing conveyances. Right of spouse to sign deed or conveyance of family home or homestead.
79. AS 34.15.110 (b) and 140. Property. Conveyances. Form and Effect. Right of spouse to conveyance of property as tenancy by the entirety.
80. AS 34.27.065 (1) (A), (B), and (C) Property. Modification or Abolition of Common Law Property Rules. Exclusions from statutory rule against perpetuities. Premarital or post-marital agreements, separation and divorce agreements, and a spouse’s election are exempt from Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities.
81. AS 34.70.010. Property. Disclosures in Residential Real Property Transfers. Right to deliver disclosures in residential real property transfers to spouse of transferee.
82. AS 38.08.040 (a). Public Land. Home sites. Issuance of entry permit. Right of spouse to receive transfer of home site entry permit.
83. AS 38.09.030 (c). Public Land. Homestead Act. Qualification for homestead entry. Right of spouse to receive transfer of homestead entry permit.
84. AS 39.20.305 (a) (2). Public Officers and Employees. Family and health leave. Right of state employee as spouse to family leave to care for other spouse.
85. AS 39.20.360. Public Officers and Employees. Compensation and Allowances. Payments Due to Deceased State Employees. Order of payment. Right of spouse to receive payment of unpaid compensation to deceased state employee.
86. AS 39.30.090 (a). Public Officers and Employees. Insurance and Supplemental Employee Benefits. Group Life and Health Insurance. Right of spouses receiving benefits under AS 14.25.168, AS.22.25.090, AS 39.35.535 or former AS 39.37.145 to receive group insurance.
87. AS 39.30.155. Public Officers and Employees. Supplemental Employee Benefits on Withdrawal from Social Security. Duties of the Public Employees Retirement Board. Right of spouse to request hearing on decisions that relate to payment of supplemental benefits.
88. AS 39.35.040. Public Officers and Employees. Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Powers and duties of board. Right of spouse to request hearing on decisions that relate to payment of benefits.
89. AS 39.35.200. Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Refund upon termination of employment for reason other than death. Right of spouse to consent to refund of contributions to state retirement plan to terminated employee-spouse.
90. AS 39.35.340 (g). Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Military service. Right of spouse receiving benefits under AS 39.35.420 (b), AS 39.35.430, or AS 39.35.440, or AS 39.35.450 to receive increased benefits based on military service.
91. AS 39.35.360 (f). Public officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Earlier service. Right of surviving spouse entitled to pension under AS 39.35.440 or AS 35.450 to increased benefits for service credit authorized under AS 39.35.360 (a) .
92. AS 39.35.420 (b). Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Non-occupational death benefits. Right of surviving spouse to non-occupational death benefits.
93. AS 39.35.430 (b). Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Occupational death benefit. Right of surviving spouse to occupational death benefits.
94. AS 39.35.440 (b). Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Death after occupational disability. Right of surviving spouse to benefits after death following occupational disability.
95. AS 39.35.450. Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Joint and survivor option. Right of spouses to elect joint and survivor option for payment of retirement benefits.
96. AS .39.35.455. Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Rights under qualified domestic relations order. Rights of spouse or former spouse under qualified domestic relations order.
97. AS 39.35.490 (a). Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Designation of beneficiary. Automatic designation of surviving spouse beneficiary under retirement system.
98. AS 39.35.535 (a). Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Retirement System of Alaska. Medical benefits. Right of spouse to medical benefits if other spouse elects major medical insurance coverage.
99. AS 39.45.025 (a) (4). Public Officers and Employees. Public Employees’ Deferred Compensation Program. Duties of the Public Employees Retirement Board. Right of spouse to request hearing on decisions that relate to payment of benefits.
100. AS 39.50.030. Public Officers and Employees. Conflict of Interest. Contents of statements. Inclusion of spouse’s income in statement of financial affairs filed by public official or candidates for public office.
101. AS 39.50.090. Public Officers and Employees. Conflict of Interest. Prohibited acts. Prohibition against public official using position for financial gain of spouse.
102. AS 39.90.020. Public Officers and Employees. Miscellaneous Provisions. Nepotism prohibited. Prohibition against nepotism includes spouses.
103. AS 42.40.230 (a) and (f) (2). Alaska Railroad Corporation. Conflicts of interest. Prohibits conflicts of interest with spouses by members of Alaska Railroad Corporation Board Member.
104. AS 43.23.095 (H) (1), and (J). Revenue and Taxation. Permanent Fund Dividends. Definitions. Exemption from state residency requirements for Permanent. Fund distribution to residents absent from the state to care for terminally ill spouse, to settle estate of deceased spouse, or to care for critically ill spouse.
105. AS 45.50.825. Trade and Commerce. Competitive Practices and Regulation of Competition. Alaska Gasoline Products Leasing Act. Right of first refusal of surviving spouse. Right of surviving spouse to right of first refusal on new lease of gasoline products dealer if surviving spouse has been active participant in business and is qualified.
106. AS 47.07.055 (b). Welfare, Social Services and Institutions. Medical Assistance for Needy Persons. Recovery of medical assistance from estates. Exemption from lien for recovery of medical assistance for home occupied by spouse.
107. AS 47.08-040. Welfare, Social Services and Institutions. Catastrophic Illness Assistance. Applications for assistance. Right of spouse to apply for assistance for catastrophically ill person.
108. AS 47.25.230. Welfare, Social Services and Institutions. Public Assistance. Persons liable for support and burial. Obligation of spouse to pay for support and burial of other spouse.
109. AS 47.30.910 (a). Welfare, Social Services and Institutions. Mental Health. Miscellaneous Provisions. Liability for expense of placement in a treatment facility. Obligation of spouse to pay for expense of placement of other spouse in a treatment facility.
110. AS 47.33.300 (a) (9). Welfare, Social Services and Institutions. Assisted Living Homes. Resident’s Rights. Right of resident of assisted living room to share room with spouse who is also resident.
111. AS 47.37.190. Welfare, Social Services and Institutions. Uniform Alcoholism and Intoxication Treatment Act. Involuntary commitment. Right of spouse to petition for involuntary commitment of other spouse for alcohol and intoxication treatment.
112. AS 47.45.070 (a) (2). Welfare Social Services and Institutions. Alaska Longevity Bonus. Right of spouse to continue receiving longevity bonus of person confined to mental health institution.
113. AS 47. 55.020 (a). Welfare, Social Services and institutions. Admission to Pioneers Home. Right of spouse younger than 65 to be admitted to Pioneer Home with Qualifying Spouse.
114. AS 47.80.150 (a). Welfare, Social Services and Institutions. Persons with Disabilities. Programs and Plans. Liability for expense of services. Liability of spouse for charges for care or treatment of person with handicap who participates in State programs.
115. Evidence Rule 505: Husband and wife evidentiary privilege. Privilege of spouse not to testify against other spouse.

None of these regulations governing marriage rights and responsibilities are available to same-sex partners.
Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage
Nations

        Netherlands (2001)
        Belgium (2003)
        Canada (2005)
        Spain (2005)
        South Africa (2005)
        Norway (2009)
        Sweden (2009)
        Mexico City (Mexico) (2009)
        Iceland (2010)
        Argentina (2010)
        Portugal (2010)
        France (2013)
        New Zealand (2013)
US States and Territories

        Massachusetts (2004)
        California (2008)
        Connecticut (2008)
        Iowa (2009)
        Vermont (2009)
        New Hampshire (2009)
        District of Columbia (2009)
        New York (2011)
        Maine (2012)
        Washington (2012)
        Maryland (2013)
        Rhode Island (2013)
        Delaware (2013)
        Minnesota (2013)
        Illinois (2013)
        Utah (2013)
    

        New Jersey (2013)
        Hawaii (2013)
        New Mexico (2013)
        Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
        Oregon (2014)
        Wisconsin (2014)
        Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
        Pennsylvania (2014)
        Indiana (2014)
        Nevada (2014)
        Virginia (2014)
        Oklahoma (2014)
        Idaho (2014)
        Arizona (2014)
        Wyoming (2014)
Native American Tribes

        Coquille Tribe in OR (2008)
        Suquamish Tribe in WA (2011)
        Little Traverse Bay Bands
          of Odawa Indians
in MI (2013)

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