North Dakota Divorce Law
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Divorce Residency Essentials to Get Divorce in North Dakota
The spouse filing for divorce must be a resident of North Dakota for at least 6 months prior to the entry of the final divorce. If the defendant is a resident of North Dakota, the divorce must be filed in the county where the defendant resides. If the defendant is not a resident, the divorce may be filed for in any county that the plaintiff designates in the complaint. [North Dakota Century Code; Volume 3A, Chapters 14-05-17 and 28-04-05].
Reasons for Divorce in North Dakota
There are mainly two reasons of divorce in North Dakota those are fault and general. In order to file for divorce in North Dakota, the proper grounds must be established. Both spouses are involved in establishing these grounds, and both must substantiate and agree upon these, unless the divorcing spouse is trying to prove otherwise to the court.
No-fault reasons for divorce in North Dakota include:
- Irreconcilable differences. [North Dakota Century Code; Volume 3A, Chapter 14-05-03].
General reasons for divorce in North Dakota include:
- Conviction of a felony;
- Willful desertion;
- Cruel and inhuman treatment;
- Willful neglect; and
- Alcohol and/or drug abuse. [North Dakota Century Code; Volume 3A, Chapter 14-05-03].
Custody of the Children in North Dakota
Child custody is awarded according to the best interests and welfare of the child, and based on the following factors:
- Moral fitness of the parents;
- Capability and desire of each parent to meet the child’s needs including food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs;
- Preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity;
- The love and affection existing between the child and each parent;
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
- The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- The stability of the home environment likely to be offered by each parent;
- The child’s interaction with anyone who resides with a parent, including such person’s history of violence of any type;
- Any spouse or child abuse, sexual abuse, or history of domestic violence or violence of any type;
- The capacity and disposition of the parents to give the child love, affection, guidance, and continue the child’s education;
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the proposed or existing custodial home;
- The making of any false accusations by one parent against the other; and
- Any other factors.
Any evidence of child or spouse abuse or domestic violence creates a presumption that custody or visitation with that parent would not be in the best interests of the child. If there is any evidence of sexual abuse of a child, the court is required to prohibit any visitation or contact with that parent unless the parent has completed counseling and the court determines that supervised visitation is in the best interests of the child. Both parents are considered to be equally entitled to custody of a child. [North Dakota Century Code; Volume 3A, Chapters 14-05-22, 14-09-06, 14-09-06.1, and 14-09-06.2].
Property Distribution in North Dakota
North Dakota is an “equitable distribution” state. All of the spouse’s property, including gifts, inheritances, and any acquired prior to the marriage, will be equitably distributed as the court feels is just and proper. There are no factors for consideration specified in the statute. [North Dakota Century Code; Volume 3A, Chapter 14-05-24].
North Dakota Spousal Support Guidelines
Either spouse may be required to make allowances for the support of the other spouse for his or her entire life or a shorter period. All of the circumstances of the situation, including any marital fault, may be considered. There are no other specific factors for consideration set out in the statute. [North Dakota Century Code; Volume 3A, Chapter 14-05-24].
North Dakota Child Support Guidelines
Either parent may be ordered to pay child support. The amount awarded will be based on a consideration of the following factors:
- The net income of the parents;
- The other resources available to the parents; and
- Any circumstances that might be considered in reducing the amount of support on the basis of hardship.
There are specific child support guidelines that the court will consider which have been prepared by the North Dakota Department of Human Services. Child support payments are required to be paid through the state disbursement office. All child support orders will be reviewed every three years, unless neither parent requests such a review. [North Dakota Century Code; Volume 3A, Chapters 14-09-08, 14-09-08.1, 14-09-08.4, and 14-09-09.7].
In an action for divorce or legal separation where child support or child custody is an issue, the court may order the parents to submit to mediation, unless there has been physical or sexual abuse of a spouse or child. [North Dakota Century Code; Volume 3A, Chapter 14-09.1-02].