Facing a family law-related issue in North Dakota can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging. But there is support and assistance available for you if you simply ask for it. The first step towards gaining the family law rights you deserve is understanding the law and how it will apply to your particular case. Whether you are anticipating or already involved in a divorce, child custody battle, or child support matter, gaining a basic understanding with our primer, below, is an important first step. We then can connect you – for free – to a local North Dakota family law professional that can provide more guidance and help you win your case.
North Dakota Divorce
There are many different state laws in North Dakota that govern divorce proceedings. In North Dakota, a divorce can be obtained either because the couple’s differences are irreconcilable, which would make their divorce a no-fault divorce, or because one spouse has done something that has irreparably damaged the marriage, which makes the divorce an at-fault divorce. The at-fault grounds for divorce in North Dakota include: willful desertion or willful neglect by one spouse, adultery, a felony conviction, extreme cruelty and alcohol or substance abuse by one spouse. By far, the majority of all divorces in North Dakota are no fault divorces. This is because it saves divorcing parties years and thousands of dollars in legal fees.
A divorce is also coupled with a several other legal matters that must be resolved along with your divorce. For instance, if there are children in the relationship, the parents must decide who will have custody of the children, and who will be responsible for paying child support. Your divorce might also require that one spouse pay alimony to the other, and you will need to settle matters related to the division of your marital assets.
Residency Requirement for a North Dakota Divorce
North Dakota, under Title 14 Chapter 14-05 of the North Dakota Code, requires that the individual who files for divorce must be a resident of the State of North Dakota for at least the last six months prior to filing or for six months prior to the final court date. The court can decide to grant the divorce even if a person moves out of state, provided that they were a resident for at least those 6 months prior to the filing.
Property Division During Divorce
North Dakota divorce statutes have made the state an “equitable distribution” state. This means that a divorce court will divide property in a manner that they deem equitable, or fair, under the circumstances of that particular situation. This does not mean that the marital property will be divided equally, or on a 50/50 basis. This is one of the common misconceptions people have when they begin a divorce in North Dakota. The decision can be based on earning capacity of both spouses, disability, whether one spouse is highly educated, and the ability of either spouse to earn income. These are similar to the same formulas the court uses to decide whether to award alimony to either spouse and if so, how much to award. Because these decisions have far-reaching implications on individual’s lives, it is best not to do this on your own.
North Dakota Child Support
When you are a parent and you have a child, whether married or unmarried, North Dakota statute states that both parents have a responsibility to take care of your child and provide for him or her financially. Child support is designed to meet that end for children whose parents are divorced or separated. Child support determinations in North Dakota are based on a specific set of guidelines, which are based on a non-custodial parent’s income, from which certain deductions can be taken out for things like retirement deductions, tax withholding, and medical insurance. Many other deductions, such as union dues, licensing fees, and certain out of pocket business expenses may be used in the determination of child support as well. What deductions can be taken out can be complicated, so consulting with a North Dakota child support attorney can be extremely beneficial. To get an idea of what may be owed, you can try out North Dakota’s child support calculator for free!
North Dakota Child Custody
North Dakota child custody cases always focus on what would be in the best interests of the child when making child custody decisions. This is the standard that virtually all 50-states have enacted, however, they use slightly different manners of determining what the child’s best interests are, exactly. In particular, the court will evaluate a lot of factors including the health and mental state of the parents, each parent’s ability and willingness to provide food, shelter and medical care for the child, whether one parent makes false allegations against the other parent, whether the child has a preference and is of an age to have a preference, and if either of the parents have a history of domestic violence, when making a child custody determination. In many instances, the court may appoint an additional party to represent the children so that the representative can give the Judge an unbiased report on their findings.
In order to get the child custody decision that you deserve, it is necessary to begin setting up your case well in advance of any child custody fight. This means that you should establish a record of taking care of the children by taking them to school, doctors’ appointments, and taking care of everyday regular things for the children. This way, you will have an established history of months, at the least, of taking care of your kids and cementing yourself as the primary caregiver of the children.
North Dakota Father’s Rights
Fathers in North Dakota have many rights related to their role as a father in their child’s life. Fathers have a right to paternity as well as child custody and support under North Dakota law.
The days of a mother winning custody simply because she is the mom are gone in North Dakota. Now, a father has the opportunity to showcase his parenting skills in order to bolster their case in court. But, you must realize that there is still a bias against fathers being the primary caregiver and you must work hard to avoid common pitfalls that ruin a dad’s chances and obtaining the father’s rights he deserves.
North Dakota Family Law Help
North Dakota family law matters can have a bigger impact on your life than any other decision you make. For that reason it is essential to be educated on all the potential North Dakota family law issues that you may find yourself in. Understanding the laws that affect your family life is essential to fighting for your family law rights. The next step is working with an expert. The good news for you is that we can connect you – for free – to a North Dakota family law lawyer or professional in your area that can help. Don’t waste any more time!