Overview of Divorce in North Dakota

Every state has different laws and regulations regarding how divorces are granted. Here are some of the basics regarding the rules for divorce in North Dakota.

Residency Requirements

Rules for residency in regards to getting a divorce are not as strict in North Dakota as they are in some other states. The petition for divorce must be filed in the county in which the plaintiff lives. Additionally, the plaintiff must have been a resident of North Dakota for at least six months prior to filing for the divorce.

Factors of Property Division

If possible, North Dakota courts prefer that property and debt issues be settled by the divorcing couple. They can sign a Marital Settlement Agreement and determine their own division.

However, if this isn't an option, the court will work on an ‘equitable distribution.' This means that it works towards a fair division of property by first classifying which property is marital and placing a monetary value on it. Equitable does not mean ‘equal'; rather, it means that the court will be impartial and evenhanded.

Spousal Support Factors

In North Dakota, spousal support is decided on a case-by-case basis; however, specific criteria are not all listed in the law. Instead, the law states that there are three main factors involved in how North Dakota courts determine spousal support. These three factors encompass any and all specific criteria that could come into play:

  1. The court considers the unique situations and circumstances of each spouse.
  2. The court may decide that one spouse must pay spousal support to the other spouse for any specified period of time.
  3. The court can change its spousal support orders at any time. Changes can be petitioned for through the clerk of the court.

Child Custody Factors

North Dakota courts are quite determined to do their best when it comes to choosing the best parent for child custody. They consider every possible factor before making any decision. Here are some of the issues they take into account:

  • The love and affection between each parent and child
  • How each parent interacts with the child
  • The capacity of each parent to provide for the child
  • The permanence of each parental home
  • The morals of each parent
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • If the child is old enough to understand, the court will consider the preference of the child

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