North Dakota Family Law And Divorce Resource
U.S. Divorce Laws are enacted by each state using their respective legislative process. Once legislation is enacted into law, the divorce courts in North Dakota have the authority to manage the divorce proceedings, including, spousal and child support payments, custodial rights of parents and the division of community property.
Since state laws are repealed and amended frequently, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer before making any important decisions about your marriage. You can also visit the GotTrouble Divorce Resource for a more in-depth understanding of related divorce and family law topics.
As of 2016, all states allow for “no fault” divorce. Yet many courts still factor in the respective parties past behavior when determining the division of community property, debts, custody, support and related issues.
SAME-SEX DIVORCE –UPDATE
On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states. It follows, therefore, that the rights and obligations between same-sex divorcing parties are subject to the same dissolution laws of that state. Reference: US Supreme Court Opinion: Obergefell v. Hodges. (For more information visit ProCon.org).
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: EITHER FAULT OR NO-FAULT
The parties can base their divorce on the grounds that they have been separated for at least 12 months. Some choose to use fault grounds to gain an advantage in contested matters involving custody and support issues.
SEPARATION WAITING PERIOD – NONE
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:
A separation or divorce may not be granted unless the plaintiff has been a resident of the state for six months before filing the petition. If the plaintiff has not been a resident of this state for the six months preceding commencement of the action, a separation or divorce may be granted if the plaintiff in good faith has been a resident of this state for the six months immediately preceding entry of the decree of separation or divorce. The action must be brought in the county in which the defendant or one of the defendants resides at the time of the commencement of the action.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: (Statutory Option)
Divorces may be granted for any of the following causes:
- Extreme cruelty
- Willful desertion
- Willful neglect
- Abuse of alcohol or controlled substances
- Conviction of felony
- Irreconcilable differences
The court may grant a temporary or permanent decree of separation for any cause for which a divorce may be decreed.
MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS”
In any proceeding involving an order, modification of an order, or enforcement of an order for the custody, support, or visitation of a child in which the custody or visitation issue is contested, the court may order mediation at the parties’ own expense. The court may not order mediation if the custody, support, or visitation issue involves or may involve physical or sexual abuse of any party or the child of any party to the proceeding.
When a divorce is granted, the court shall make an equitable distribution of the property and debts of the parties. The court may redistribute property in a post-judgment proceeding if a party has failed to disclose property and debts as required by rules adopted by the court or the party fails to comply with the terms of a court order distributing property and debts.
ALIMONY SPOUSAL SUPPORT:
Taking into consideration the circumstances of the parties, the court may require one party to pay spousal support to the other party for any period of time.
CHILD CUSTODY – BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD
Custody may be awarded to either the father or the mother. For the purpose of custody, the best interests and welfare of the child is determined by the court’s consideration and evaluation of all factors affecting the best interests and welfare of the child.
These factors include all of the following when applicable:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and child.
- The capacity and disposition of the parents to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education of the child.
- The disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
- The moral fitness of the parents.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The home, school, and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
- Evidence of domestic violence. The court shall consider that person’s history of inflicting, or tendency to inflict, physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, on other persons.
- The making of false allegations not made in good faith, by one parent against the other, of harm to a child.
- Any other factors considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
The court may compel either or both of the parents to provide for the support of their children. A judgment or order requiring the payment of child support until the child attains majority continues as to the child until the end of the month during which the child is graduated from high school or attains the age of nineteen years, whichever occurs first, if: a) The child is enrolled and attending high school and is eighteen years of age prior to the date the child is expected to be graduated; and b) The child resides with the person to whom the duty of support is owed. The department of human services shall establish child support guidelines to assist courts in determining the amount a parent should be expected to contribute toward the support of the child under this section.
The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.
Parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to:
- The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
- The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property
- The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
- The modification or elimination of spousal support; and
- Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.
ENFORCING NORTH DAKOTA CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS – FEDERAL OPTION:
FIND LOCAL FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT AGENCY NEAR YOU