North Dakota divorce laws, like most states, mandate actions and decisions that are in the best interest of the child. The courts will examine factors that will help determine child custody and what may be in the best interest of the child. Some factors the court may consider when settling child custody issues include:
- 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 interaction and interrelationship, or the potential for interaction and interrelationship, of the child with any person who resides in, is present, or frequents the household of a parent and who may significantly affect the child's best interests. 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,
- Any other factors considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
North Dakota divorce laws provide that parents can attempt to come to agreement on a Parenting Plan or Child Custody Agreement for shared parenting. If no agreement can be reached, the family court will impose a schedule on the parents, and it may be far less than at least one parent wanted.
Download North Dakota Divorce Forms
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-09-06.2]
When a North Dakota court declares a marriage annulment, they are declaring a marriage void and illegal. A marriage annulment (sometimes called a marital annulment) must be petitioned to the court as divorce and separations are. Your partner will be served. The burden of proof is greater for an annulment than it is for a divorce. In order to qualify for a petition for annulment, one must cite and prove one of the following grounds for annulment:
- Fraud & Duress - If you have given your consent for the marriage under a threat or duress, you can get annulment under North Dakota annulment laws,
- Bigamy - When a married person enters into another marriage without divorcing from his or her prior spouse and is a valid ground for annulment,
- Mental illness - your spouse isn't likely to gain back herself, and
- Physical disability - unable to consummate the marriage.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-14-01]
North Dakota divorce laws, unlike most states, use a flat percentage of the non-custodial parent's income, as opposed to the Income Shares model, which adds the two parents incomes together and then uses a chart to determine percentages for each. (It is important to note that your neighbor South Dakota computes child support using the latter method). Any deviation from state guidelines by the court will be accompanied with an explanation for the deviation. The court can order ND child support payments be guaranteed by wage assignments and wage withholding orders. All child support orders will be reviewed every 3 years, unless neither parent requests such a review.
Split Custody - In general, North Dakota child support is determined by the family law court by making calculations for the cost of supporting the child(ren) under each parent's care. A child support obligation must be determined for the child or children in each parent's custody, with the lesser obligation being subtracted from the greater obligation. The difference is the child support owed by the parent with the greater obligation.
Excluded from the calculation of North Dakota child support (and are typically items that reduce gross income) are: Medicare and Social Security taxes, Federal and state income taxes, union dues and health insurance payments, and any other fixed, mandatory payments.
Also taken into account in the calculation of both parents incomes are the amount of time the child spends with each parent, the number of offspring, and any special educational or medical expenses.
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The court issues a decree requiring the payment of child support until the child attains majority, or continues the order 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 you are looking for a child support calculator to determine what might be required from the non-custodial parent, you can find such a child support calculator provided by the State of North Dakota.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-09-08, 14-09-08.2, 14-09-09.7]
For a legal separation (sometimes called a marital separation), one must petition the court in much the same fashion as a divorce, by claiming grounds in a complaint and having the partner served. The decree of separation in North Dakota can be temporary or permanent. A Legal Separation Agreement must be submitted to the court, resolving all issues between the couple except marital status. That remains married and without the ability to remarry.
The court will likely include in the decree an order requiring a party to pay for spousal support and for the support of any minor children of the parties. The decree will likely provide for the equitable division of the property and debts of the parties. Legal separation is sometimes pursued when one of the parties wants to stay married for religious reasons, wants the advantage of deductibility of spousal support payments for income tax reasons, wants to maintain various insurance coverage's, or do not want to wait the state statutory waiting period for termination of marital status.
How to file for legal separation is similar to the process of filing for a dissolution (divorce). You will use the same petition, file your separation papers, have your spouse served with a summons to answer the petition in a timely manner. Links to divorce forms can be found at the top of this page.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-05-03.1, 14-05-27]
If the parties have not reached a property or divorce settlement, the court will equitably distribute the real and personal property of the parties as it deems just and proper. North Dakota divorce statutes mandate that this state be treated as an "equitable distribution" state.
When the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Court will first determine which assets and debt are marital, and will subsequently divide the remainder in an equitable manner (equitable does not necessarily mean equal).
Did you come into this marriage owning a house? Concerned about the equity in that house that you brought into the marriage and might become part of a divorce settlement? Here's how it works generally. What you brought into the marriage is usually all yours. However, any appreciation of the house or the property value is normally treated as a "marital asset", meaning that you will likely forfeit a third to a half of that appreciation to your spouse in the divorce.
Lock up the assets
If you think your spouse might try to hide assets, or spend them, we suggest you file a petition for a financial temporary restraining order. This order prevents liquidating assets or spending money beyond the basic necessities of daily living. You might first consider allocating enough funds to see yourself through, because the restraining order will apply to you too.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-05-24]
North Dakota divorce laws specify the terms of this hot potato topic. Either party may be ordered to pay alimony (it can also be called spousal support or maintenance) to the other spouse for support during life or for shorter duration as the court deems just, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parties. In North Dakota, any support payments can influence how the marital property distribution is awarded, which is why it can become a very intricate part of the final outcome of any divorce.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-05-24.1]
During the process of a divorce or separation proceeding, the parties have the opportunity to create and agree to a Child Custody Schedule. Should they be unable to fashion the visitation schedule, the court will impose its own on the couple. Either way, it is wise to consider and incorporate the following considerations into the agreement:
- How is the decreed custody defined?
- What are the rights and responsibilities?
- Who has legal custody?
- Which holiday does the child spend with you?
- What time and where may the other parent pick the child up?
- What time should the child be returned home?
- What is the procedure to follow if either of you are running late and won't be there on time?
- How much notice should you be given if they are planning a vacation?
- How far away may the other spouse move?
- What about future partners?
- Should those partners stay overnight in front of the children?
The visitation agreement is likely to contain the following details as the basis the non-custodial parents time with the children: alternate weekend visitation (3-day weekends included), mid-week visitation, sharing of the children during periods of school recess -winter, spring and summer, New Year's Eve, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with one parent or the other in alternate years, Father's Day with Father, Mother's Day with Mother, alternate years on the children's birthdays, and open communication by phone and computer.
Be aware that you have to guide your side of the divorce. Don't rely that your attorney will think of everything. You set the course; your lawyer navigates. Familiarize yourself with your state's divorce laws. If you anticipate any problems with custody or visitation, we suggest you own Child Custody Strategies.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-09-05]
A divorce may be granted under ND divorce laws based on the following grounds for divorce:
- Extreme cruelty.
- Willful desertion for a period of one year,
- Willful neglect for a period of one year,
- Habitual intemperance for a period of one year,
- Conviction of a felony,
- Insanity for a period of five years; and,
- Irreconcilable differences.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-05-03]
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.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-09.1-02]
The grandparents and great-grandparents of an unmarried minor may be granted reasonable visitation rights to the minor by the district court upon a finding that visitation would be in the best interests of the minor and would not interfere with the parent child relationship. The court shall consider the amount of personal contact that has occurred between the grandparents or great-grandparents and the minor and the minor's parents.
[North Dakota Family Law Statutes (Century Code) - 14-09-05.1]
A Word On Your Journey Toward Healing And Recovery ...
At some point in the process, you may discover that you will not be able to manage the divorce recovery all by yourself. If you are a man, you are apt to bury the hurt and anguish and force yourself to Move On. However, unresolved feelings are just that- unresolved, and are likely to become issues later on. If you are a woman, you will feel the process more, and likely will experience a feeling of loss while feeling lost. We recommend you spend time discovering why things worked out as they did, so that you grow with the new knowledge. We offer a myriad of tools that can get you to the other side. The more you learn, the less you fear. Trust us on this. Spend some time and a few bucks and the return will be ten-fold.