Stefan Otterson
  • Family Law, Arbitration & Mediation, Divorce...
  • Alaska
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ABronzeSocial Media

Stefan Otterson has lived and practiced law in Anchorage since 1988. Stefan lived and worked in Europe for three years before attending the University of Utah, graduating suma cum laude in 1984. He received both an MBA and Law Degree from the University of Utah schools of Business and Law in 1988. Stefan started out in private commercial legal practice, but joined the Attorney General’s Office in 1990. There he was a child protection and juvenile delinquency prosecutor, and also represented the Divisions of Public Safety, Mental Health, and Medicaid. Since 2000 Stefan has practiced family law in courts all over Southcentral, Southwest and Northwest Alaska. Stefan is also trained in mediation and collaborative law, and has been a mediator for the court system, and a child advocate (guardian ad litem).

Practice Areas
  • Family Law
  • Arbitration & Mediation
  • Divorce
  • Juvenile Law
  • Appeals & Appellate
  • Domestic Violence
Additional Practice Areas
  • Adoption
  • Collaborative Law
  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Child Abuse & Neglect
  • OCS Relative Placement
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
  • French: Written
  • German: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Otterson Law & Mediation, P.C.
University of Utah
MBA (1988)
Honors: Wm & Opal Fields Scholarship
The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
J.D. (1988)
University of Utah
B.A. / English with writing emphasis, German minor (1984)
Honors: Summa Cum Laude
Activities: Graduation speaker, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi
Professional Associations
Alaska State Bar # 8811198
Alaska Association of Collaborative Professionals
- Current
Speaking Engagements
Adoptive Parent Training, Quarterly Adoptive Parent Workshops, Anchorage
Catholic Social Services
Legal portion of adoptive parent training
Adoptive Parent Training, Quarterly Adoptive Parent Workshops, Anchorage
Catholic Social Services
Legal portion of adoptive parent training
Websites & Blogs
Stefan Otterson's Website Profile
Otterson Law & Mediation, P.C. Website
Legal Answers
31 Questions Answered

Q. If I have sole legal and physical custody of my child, dad has visitation, and I die, will he be awarded custody?
A: The custody order only divides up parental rights between the two of you. If either parent dies, that division is no longer relevant. The surviving parent would have priority over any other person unless a court determines otherwise. That determination would have to be done based on the circumstances at the time of the other parent's death. You could designate a guardian to take responsibility if both parents die. However, if you die first, you'd have to arrange for someone to file a third-party custody complaint. A relative or someone who knows the child very well would be best. That will be an uphill battle, as the third party would have to prove that it would be harmful for your child to live with the other parent. If you can provide that person with all the information you have about the other parent's unfitness, it will give them a better chance. It wouldn't hurt to designate some money in your will to fund the third parties' legal fees, as well.
Q. A payor pays support in two seperate case,the child in the first case passed away.Can I ask for an increase? In Wi
A: Yes, assuming your child support was based on an income calculation that deducted support paid to the child from a previous relationship. However, the $50 amount suggests that the payor's income is very low, so adding that previous support amount back into his/her income may not bring the amount above the $50 minimum. You'll need to ask the payor for a current tax return and paystubs, and then do the math. You can ask for recalculation if the difference is more than 15%.
Q. My Ex had financial trouble lost her house in Nassau and send the kids back for a year to me. Do I pay for that yea
A: I assume you're wondering about child support. That goes based on your court custody order, and it doesn't change until you get it modified by the court. If you don't have a court order, you may be able to do the modification through CSSD, if they're involved. The key point is that there's no retroactive modification, so if it's clear you're going to have them for a year, you should go ahead and request that child support be modified to reflect that. Don't wait till the end, because it will be too late then.
Q. How do I get custody of my daughter if I know she's in an unsafe environment with her mother?
A: If you already have a custody order, file a Motion to Modify Custody. If you don't have a custody order yet, file a Complaint for Custody. The court system has forms online for this purpose. DR-411 is the Complaint, and DR-700 is the Motion to Modify. It wouldn't hurt to talk to a lawyer first so you know how to approach it, and so you can decide whether to manage the case yourself, or hire a lawyer to manage it for you. Getting full custody is not easy. The courts favor sharing. If there's really a safety threat, just be sure you can document it so it's not a he-said/she-said thing.
Q. my daughter has been living with her father for 3 years now and wants to move back to live with me.
A: If you have custody under a court order, there would be little risk for you to fly her home. The important thing is to keep the father in the loop. Just keep your daughter safe and work together with her father. If you can't do both, err on the side of keeping your daughter safe. Just keep in mind that a judge may be asked to review what you do. If it's all reasonable and you didn't do anything aimed solely at harming the father's relationship with your daughter, it should be fine.
Q. Hi. My i recently told my ex-gf to move out, and that our daughter stays with me in a stable household.
A: Yes, it is completely legal. Until you get a custody order, you both have equal custodial rights. Hiding from you isn't a good thing, but since she filed for custody, you now have her address and a forum for determining how to arrange custody between the two of you. If you ask for it, the court will normally order equally shared custody until a final determination can be made. If spending half the time with your ex isn't safe, you can ask the court for primary custody, with your ex getting visits that are arranged to be safe. Getting such an order requires pretty strong evidence, though. The best thing would be for you and your ex to work things out with a mediator. (The court may be able to provide one free of charge if you can't afford one. )
Q. If I enroll in college before I turn 18 can my mother remove me from college for any reason
A: This may be a matter of policy at the particular college you pick. In general, until you turn 18 your parents have legal custody of you. This means they have decision making authority, and they are the ones who are supposed to sign admissions paperwork, etc. However, some organizations make exceptions. In many school districts, they have programs that allow runaway kids to register themselves. This is supposed to serve the goal of universal education. Your college may have a similar policy. What they do if your parents contact them and say they disagree with your registration would also be a matter of that particular school's policy, so you should ask the admissions office.
Q. Foster parents rights to adoption what are the legal options?
A: You should first do everything you can to work things out with the social worker. If possible, you should try to get the guardian ad litem to advocate in your favor. If you have no luck with the social worker, go up the chain to his/her supervisor, and on up. OCS has broad discretion to make placement decisions, so you're at a big disadvantage if you have to challenge them in court. If all else fails, you can intervene in the CINA proceeding to file a motion for placement, and ask for a hearing. Also ask for an order that OCS not make any changes pending a decision on your motion. You would have to show that the OCS placement decision is an abuse of discretion. You will probably want legal assistance, as this is a very difficult case to present.
Q. What does "I further allege the following as my affirmation defenses" mean in a divorce answer filing?
A: It probably means the person who wrote the Answer was trying to sound legal. He/she probably meant "affirmative" defenses. Certain types of defenses need to be specifically listed in an Answer. If a party lists them, it just preserves the right to argue them later. However, most of them have nothing to do with the issues you are dealing with in a divorce.
Click here to see all answers
Social Media
Contact & Map
Otterson Law & Mediation, P.C.
425 G St
Anchorage, AK 99501
Telephone: (907) 868-5050