Legal Help

Legal Help2020-04-14T14:46:49-08:00

Legal Assistance

If you need civil legal assistance, please contact the member program in your area and ask to speak to a legal advocate. Legal advocates are trained to support survivors as they navigate the legal process. You can also ask about ANDVSA’s Legal Program. The ANDVSA Legal Program provides victims of domestic violence and sexual assault with brief advice and direct representation in civil legal cases, including divorce, child custody, protection order, housing, consumer and other civil issues.

Legal Services & COVID-19

Find information about some of the common questions and concerns regarding legal services for domestic and sexual violence survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I need legal help.2020-04-14T14:02:57-08:00

Contact one of our member programs to connect with an advocate who can help assess your legal issues and work with you to come up with a plan. Legal advocates are continuing to work in person and remotely with survivors and can assist with both civil and criminal justice issues. They are not attorneys, but can help you navigate the system. Visit the ANDVSA Domestic & Sexual Violence Resources page to find a local program or contact an advocate who will be able to provide legal resources. Advocates can help to connect you with attorneys who may be able to assist you with civil legal issues such as divorce, custody, immigration, housing and protection orders. You may also apply directly to any of these civil legal providers who are continuing to do intakes and helps survivors.

ANDVSA Legal Program: 907-747-2990, mlowrance@andvsa.org

Alaska Legal Services Corporation: 907-272-9431, https://www.alsc-law.org/apply-for-services/

Alaska Native Justice Center: 907-793-3550, http://www.anjc.org/

Alaska Institute for Justice: 907-279-2457, https://www.akijp.org/

I need some brief legal information or advice.2020-04-14T14:09:50-08:00

You can call ANDVSA’s Legal Information & Referral Hotline if you would like to speak to a lawyer who can provide you legal information. Information about the hotline is posted below.

Alaska Legal Services Corporation  offers a Landlord/Tenant Legal Helpline to provide free assistance to both tenants and landlords with legal questions and situations. Staffed by volunteer attorneys, this Landlord/Tenant Helpline is open to receive calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8pm. The number to call in the Anchorage area is 907-743-1000. For outside of the Anchorage area, you can call the toll-free number at 1-888-988-3725.

The Alaska Bar Association runs Alaska Free Legal Answers, where you can get free legal advice about civil issues.  Visit the site, see if you qualify, and ask a civil legal question. A volunteer attorney should answer your question within 30 days.

I need a protective order/restraining order.2020-04-24T10:02:13-08:00

Alaska courts are continuing to issue domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking protective orders (also called restraining orders) during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need a protective order, you may still apply for one through your local state courthouse.  General information about protective orders and how they work can be found on the Alaska Court System Self-Help Center or WomensLaw.org. An advocate at one of ANDVSA’s member programs can help you to fill out the paperwork remotely and can connect you with legal assistance (see the FAQ above, “I need legal help”).

You do not need to go to the courthouse to file your petition.  In all locations, courts are accepting documents through email.  Anchorage also accepts faxes to (907) 265-0104.  If you are filing in Anchorage, Anchorage courts have a specific protocol for domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking ex parte petitions that should be followed.  If you do not have access to email or fax, you can drop your petition off in a dropbox at your closest court location.  Below are some guidelines for how to file a petition:

  1. Fill out Alaska Court System Domestic Violence Form here. While this Domestic Violence Form is easier to fill out, you can alternatively fill out a PDF protection order petition. Make sure to electronically sign the petition using tools in the toolbar of your Adobe program that the PDF is opened in. If you are going to e-file it and cannot sign it, you may e-sign by typing “s/[insert your name].” You can find further instruction on e-signing on the court website.
  2. Because petitions must be notarized or sworn to, the court system has a work around for this called the Self-Certification Form. Download, fill out and save the Alaska Court System Self-Certification Form.
  3. Once you’ve downloaded and saved your Domestic Violence Form or filled out your PDF petition, you can email, fax or print/drop off your Domestic Violence Protection Order petition and Self-Certification Form.
  4. If you are emailing your documents, the subject line of the email should say the type of document you’re sending, the number of pages you’re sending, your name and your contact telephone number. If you are faxing, include a cover sheet with this information.
  5. If you do not have access to a computer, you can go to a courthouse and ask for the forms to fill out and drop them in the drop box. You can also go to your ANDVSA member program for help.
  6. Some courts may call you to ask questions about your petition before they decide whether to grant it, which is one reason why it is important to have your telephone contact number on the petition.

If you are having problems with the process, you can call your local court clerk’s office, reach out to your local ANDVSA member program or call the ANDVSA Legal Program 907-747-2990.

You can find up-to-date court contact information on the Court System website.

E-file addresses for First, Second, Third & Fourth District

3rd District Court E-mails

4th District Court E-mails

How is my long-term protective order hearing affected due to COVID-19?2020-04-24T10:05:24-08:00

The court will hold your long-term protective order hearing over the telephone.  Call the clerk’s office to confirm the date and time of the hearing and the number which you should call to dial into the hearing that day, or if you have accessibility issues which make it impossible for you to appear over the phone.  You can find more information about telephonic hearings on the court’s COVID-19 page. If you have documents or other evidence such as text messages, emails, court documents, letters or photos that you want the judge to review during the hearing, you should file those with the courthouse prior to your hearing, with a Notice of Filing, SHC-1605 that includes the case name and case number. Note that the Anchorage courts have a specific protocol for domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking order long term and modification hearings that should be followed if your case is in Anchorage. If you are in Anchorage and have a long term hearing, call 1-800-768-2983, access code: 2640015#.

How are custody and divorce cases affected?2020-04-14T14:25:47-08:00

All domestic relations (divorce & custody) hearings are suspended through May 31, 2020 except for emergency child custody hearings.  But you can file pleadings in divorce and custody cases, including motions. If you have a hearing in a divorce or custody case scheduled prior to May 31, 2020 that is not an emergency hearing, you should check in with the court to find out when it is rescheduled for.

I share custody with the other parent or the other parent has visitation rights. How will COVID-19 affect our custody schedule?2020-04-14T13:50:10-08:00

The Alaska Court System Presiding Judges have issued an order including information that child custody orders remain in effect and that parents cannot make unilateral changes to custody orders.  The order offers the following guidance:

  • If your custodial schedule is tied to the school year, parents should maintain the school year schedule even if children are doing online school. The triggering of what would be the summer schedule will depend upon whether the school year is resumed during part of the normal summer schedule.
  • If a parent is put in mandatory quarantine while the other parent is exercising court-ordered custody/visitation, then the non-quarantined parent should keep the child until the other parent is out of mandatory quarantine and the quarantined parent should be allowed to get make up time.
  • If a parent is self-quarantining, the parents should follow the regular custody schedule.
  • If a parent tests positive for the virus, the parties should follow the advice of their health care providers.
  • Parents are advised to work together to resolve unique problems and memorialize their agreements in writing if they do.
  • If parents cannot reach agreement and there is a concern about the health and safety of a parent or child due to the COVD-19 virus, a parent can request that the court decide the issue, but parents should expect abnormal delays in courts deciding motions or scheduling emergency hearings.

Read the full order here. 

Are tribal courts still issuing protective orders?2020-04-14T13:50:18-08:00

Many tribal courts are still issuing protective orders. Since each tribe has their own process, you will need to contact the tribe directly. You can find contact information for various tribal courts and information about the types of proceedings that they do here. These tribes have provided the following updates:

  • Kenaitze Tribal Court is still issuing protective orders but their office is closed to the public. Protective order petitions will be faxed or emailed to petitioners on a case-by-case basis. Petitioners should call the office at (907) 335-7219 for assistance.
  • Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes (CCTHIA) is still issuing protective orders. Contact the Clerk of Court at (907) 463-7165 for more information. Their tribal court plan can be found here.
  • Sitka Tribe of Alaska is accepting protective order petitions electronically and can schedule short notice telephone hearings with the judge when necessary. Email court@sitkatribe-nsn.gov for assistance.

Legal Information and Referral Hotline

ANDVSA provides a legal information and referral hotline. The hotline allows survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to receive basic legal information and referrals from volunteer attorneys over the telephone. This hotline is available on the second Tuesday each month from 5-7pm and the fourth Tuesday from 12-2pm, by calling toll-free, 1-888-988-3725.

Recent and upcoming dates for the 2020 ANDVSA Legal Information and Referral Hotline are:

  • April 14, 5pm – 7pm

  • April 21, 5pm – 7pm

  • April 28, 12pm – 2pm

  • May 5, 5pm – 7pm

  • May 12, 12pm – 2pm

  • May 19, 5pm – 7pm

  • May 26, 12pm – 2pm

  • June 9, 5pm – 7pm

  • June 23, 12pm – 2pm

Frequently Asked Questions about the Hotline

Who Will I Speak With?2019-09-26T11:07:33-08:00

The call will be answered by one of ANDVSA’s pro bono program’s volunteer attorneys.

What Types of Questions Can the Hotline Attorney Answer?2019-09-26T11:06:53-08:00

General questions about many areas of the law, including family and criminal law, landlord/tenant, and immigration issues.

Who Should Call?2019-09-26T11:06:27-08:00

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking who want basic information about their legal rights and options and referral information from an attorney.

*Please note, the hotline attorney will not be representing clients, but rather providing brief legal education to callers and referrals to other legal and social service providers.

Women’s Legal Rights Handbook

ANDVSA publishes the Women’s Legal Rights Handbook. This handbook outlines legal rights affecting women in various areas. You can download a copy from our Resources Page or request a printed copy by calling 907-586-3650.