NORTH DAKOTA DIVORCE LAWS
The Residency Requirement: The plaintiff must be a resident of the state for six months before commencing the action, or for six months before the divorce is made final.
Grounds: No-Fault: Irreconcilably differences. Fault: Adultery; Extreme cruelty, Willful desertion for one year; Willful neglect for one year; Abuse of alcohol and controlled substances for one year; Conviction of a felony.
A word of caution: North Dakota reserves the right to tell you if you can remarry after your divorce.
Property Division: The spouses may present their own division of property to the court. If not, North Dakota is an “equitable distribution” state, which allows the court to divide certain property equitably, i.e., fairly, and other property not at all. Property acquired during the marriage, except for gifts and inheritance, is classified as marital property, and is divided equitably upon divorce. Property acquired before the marriage is not marital property, but it can, nevertheless, be divided upon divorce if “the balancing of the equities between the parties requires it.” And if property acquired before the marriage has appreciated in value, that appreciation may be counted or traded. Property acquired after the separation is separate property and may not be divided (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property and assets through divorce).
Alimony: There is no right to alimony in North Dakota, but a spouse can request it. The court will take into consideration the unique circumstances of the parties, and then decide if alimony should be given, and if so, how much it will be and for what period of time.
Child Custody and Child Support: As usual, custody is based on “the best interests of the child.” North Dakota adds the welfare of the child. Custody may go to either the father or mother. Factors to be considered in deciding custody: the ties between parents and child; the capacity of the parents to give love and guidance; their ability to care for the child; how stable their environments are; the parents’ moral fitness; the mental and physical health of the parents; the child’s school and community record; the child’s preference; any evidence of domestic violence; other people living in the parents’ homes, the behavior and honesty of the parents during divorce proceedings (click the following for an expert's overview and a detailed directory of articles on child custody and child support).
North Dakota child-support guidelines take into consideration extended visitations by the noncustodial parent and joint custody. Otherwise, support is based on the net monthly income of the noncustodial parent (net being the income after specific deductions).
For a net monthly income of:
- $1,340, support would be $298 for one child; $385 for two children; $452 for three children.
- $3,300, support for one child would be $620; for two children, $949; for three children, $1,131.
- $6,600, support for one child would be $1,152; for two children, $1,879; for three children, $2,249.
North Dakota information about divorce, custody and support, can be found at http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t14.html and http://www.nd.gov/dhs/services/childsupport/docs/current-guidelines.pdf.
In North Dakota, child support usually ends at 18.
Disclaimer: The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.