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Deciding to divorce is never easy. But there are such vital circumstances in which divorce becomes inevitable. If we talk about statistics, about half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. It can be said that divorce has long ceased to be something unusual. That is why the legislation is designed in such a way as to help couples overcome the difficulties of marriage termination and pass this path with the least losses, especially if it is a question of uncontested divorce. Next, we will understand the basic concepts and steps that need to be taken in order to dissolve the marriage.

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North Dakota divorce details

Uncontested VS Contested Divorce in North Dakota

Divorce can be different, for someone it passes almost unnoticed, and for someone turns life into hell - this is exactly the example that characterizes the uncontested and contested divorces. Uncontested divorce is a simple and quick way to stop a marriage because here there is no place for lengthy litigation and tug-of-war. Uncontested divorce is an excellent solution for spouses who are ready to hear each other and make compromises in order to terminate the marriage as painless as possible in just a few months. The contested divorce is the complete opposite. With this method of ending marital relations, spouses have to attend lengthy court hearings and take out all their dirty laundry for court consideration. Such a divorce can last for months, or even a year. Time largely depends on the number of outstanding issues between spouses, which judge needs to investigate, and on their complexity.

Uncontested Divorce in North Dakota

Uncontested divorces are gaining in popularity, as this is a much faster and more profitable way to dissolve a marriage. It is perfect for those couples who do not have controversial issues or for those who are ready for cooperation to settle all the differences. So, one of the main requirements of an uncontested divorce is the lack of disputes between spouses regarding the following issues:

  • Separation of property.
  • Separation of custody of a minor child and a visit plan.
  • The amount and duration of alimony.
  • Grounds for divorce.
  • Any other nuances that may arise in the process of divorce.

Spouses need to fill in and sue Affidavit of Proof for Stipulated Judgement, which is a testament to the fact that the couple have no outstanding issues. Uncontested divorce in this case can be obtained without even appearing in the courtroom. The judge will make the final decision quickly enough if he understands all the circumstances of the marriage.

Grounds for Divorce in North Dakota

In order to divorce the couple must have reasons established by state law, which led to the intention to dissolve the marriage. Like most states, there are two main types of grounds in North Dakota:

  1. No-fault. These grounds are very suitable for uncontested divorce, since the spouses do not need to blame each other for the fact that the marriage is broken. No-fault reasons mean that the marriage is irretrievably broken, which prevents the spouses from continuing to live as a full-fledged family.
  2. Fault. These grounds are usually applied to contested divorces and require that the plaintiff prove the defendant's fault in the courtroom. However, in some cases, these reasons can also be used for uncontested divorce, if both spouses agree that this circumstance has broken the marriage. For fault grounds, can be included:
  • Adultery of one of the spouses.
  • Extreme cruelty.
  • Deliberate neglect of a partner or desertion.
  • Alcohol or drug addiction.
  • Commission of a criminal offense by one of the spouses.

North Dakota Residency Requirements to File for Divorce

Each state has its own residency requirements, which must be performed in good faith if the couple wants a divorce. In North Dakota, citizens who are residents of the state for at least 6 months prior to applying to a court may file an action for divorce. However, if this requirement is not met, North Dakota law gives a life-saving circle, so citizens can also file for divorce in case if they will be residents of the state for 6 continuous months that precede the moment when the decree on divorce comes into force.

How to File for Uncontested Divorce in North Dakota?

In case if you finally decided to divorce, then you need to start with the filling out of the forms, for the uncontested divorce it is usually Summons and Complaint. You can fill them in yourself or with the help of a lawyer, you can also use online service to prepare documents, it's absolutely legal.

After that, you need to register papers in court. Keep in mind that depending on the county where you want to get a divorce, you may be required to file additional documents. If, however, you and a spouse have reached a complete understanding and have the same vision regarding the resolution of all controversial issues, then you also need to fill out the Divorce Settlement Agreement and sue it.

Do not forget to make copies of all the documents, after they have been registered in court, you will need to provide copies to your almost former, this is also called ‘serving a spouse’. But if you file a lawsuit with your spouse, then you do not need to serve him or her.

After your husband or wife receives a copies, he or she has 20 days (if he or she is a resident of North Dakota) or 35 (if he or she resides in another state) in order to file an Answer regarding the divorce suit. When you and your spouse take all the steps described above, you will need to go through a waiting period of 1 to 3 months, depending on the workload of the court. In some cases, the final decision can be obtained even without attending a court hearing.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce in North Dakota

In the case of an uncontested divorce, you can go through the entire process without the participation of a lawyer. Legislation of North Dakota considers this to be quite acceptable. You have the right to independently fill out all the documents, file them with a court, and also represent your own interests. DIY divorce is very suitable for those couples who have no disputes and are ready to cooperate. In many cases, do-it-yourself divorce saves money, but if you are not confident in your abilities or if you have doubts about your steps in the process of marriage dissolution, then it makes sense for you to seek the help of a qualified lawyer.

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?

Basically, the costs of the uncontested divorce includes a court fee, and the expenditure to serve a spouse, on average, is all $200. In addition, if you want to hire a lawyer to prepare all the necessary papers, you will have to spend additional funds on this. On average, the hourly rate of an attorney is $ 210.

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in North Dakota?

Usually, an uncontested divorce in North Dakota requires from 30 to 90 days from the time when all the necessary documents have been submitted to court, the length of the divorce depends largely on the workload of the judge. If we talk about the contested divorce, it is difficult to calculate how much time this can take, as each case is unique and requires a separate approach. But in general, the contested divorce can last several months or even a year, depending on how many unresolved issues the couple has and what their complexity is.

Papers & Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in North Dakota

Each state has its own list of forms, if it speaks of the North Dakota, then such documents are required:

  • Summons
  • Complaint
  • Verification
  • Settlement Agreement
  • Property and Debt Listing
  • Admission of Service
  • Affidavit of Proof for Stipulated Judgment
  • Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for Judgment
  • Judgment with private information redacted
  • Judgment with no redactions
  • Petition for Waiver of Fees
  • Financial Affidavit in Support of Petition of Waiver of Fees
  • Order Waiving Filing Fees

This is a list of all forms of the state, but keep in mind that not all you need to fill out. You prepare and sue only those forms that correspond to the circumstances of your dissolution. It is very important to submit the correct divorce papers, otherwise they will be rejected and you will have to start everything from the beginning.

How to Serve Your Spouse in North Dakota

When you are ready with the papers and they are filed with a court you have to provide your spouse with the copies of all divorce documents. You can transfer the papers to the spouse in person, in this case he or she must fill in the Admission of Service, confirming that the spouse was serving, this form must also be sued. If your spouse works with a lawyer during divorce, then you need to send the papers to the office of the spouse's lawyer.

In addition, you can transfer the copies either through a private delivery service or through the local sheriff. In both cases, your spouse must fill out a document confirming that he or she has received the forms, this document must be submitted to the court.

In rare cases, it is possible to serve a spouse by making a publication in a newspaper, but this is allowed only when none of the above methods works.

Online Divorce in North Dakota

Online divorce is a very popular way to get all the necessary forms, which is well suited for uncontested divorce. It works like this: you answer questions about your marriage, after which our services select all forms that fit your circumstances and fill them out in accordance with state requirements as soon as possible. We will also send you instructions on the steps that you must take next. Online divorce is an excellent way to save time and money. For only $ 149 you will receive high-quality divorce papers, which will be 100% approved by the court.

Rules for Child Support and Visitation in North Dakota

In the process of divorce, not only spouses, but also children suffer. Thus, the decision regarding the distribution of care can be the most difficult. The courts of North Dakota are always guided by the best interests of the child in order to divide custody  properly. It is good, if parents can discuss all the issues concerning their children without emotions and screams and come to a common solution. But if this can not be done, the court will make a decision based on an analysis of various factors that have developed in the family, for example:

  • Emotional atmosphere.
  • The ability of each parent to meet the basic needs of the child.
  • Evidence of domestic violence.
  • Physical and mental health of each parent.
  • Wishes of the child, if the court makes sure that he or she has enough intelligence to think reasonably.
  • Any other circumstances that the court deems important.

It is also very important for parents to prepare a plan for the upbringing of the child, which will detail the schedule of the child as to how much time he or she will spend with each of the parents. If the spouses can’t provide such a document, the court will develop its schedule.

In addition, parents are also required to provide financial support to their underage children. Payments must be paid monthly, and the amount is calculated on the basis of the North Dakota child support worksheet, which uses the state guidelines.

Rules for Spousal Support in North Dakota

Alimony is a payment that one spouse gives to another during or after the divorce. Typically, alimony is paid to a low-income spouse to maintain his or her needs and are as follows:

Temporary spousal support - are paid after all the documents for divorce are filed with the court, but the final decision has not yet been made.

Rehabilitative spousal support - are paid for the period of time that a needy spouse requires to acquire the knowledge and skills that will help him or her to find a suitable job.

Permanent - financial support, which is paid for a long period, since the spouse has no opportunity to become financially independent.

In North Dakota there are no rules or formulas for calculating the amount of alimony, each case for the court is individual, but the amount and duration of financial support can be affected by the following factors:

  • Duration of the marriage.
  • Emotional and physical health of each spouse.
  • Financial capacity of each spouse.
  • The contribution each spouse made to the marriage.

Division of Property in North Dakota

North Dakota is considered a state with a equitable division, but this does not mean that the division will be equal. However, quite often it should be fair. Although when the court only starts to consider the issue of the division of property, it assumes that all property should be divided equally, until the spouses prove the opposite.

It is also an important question - to determine what property is common (such that it was obtained by the spouses during the marriage) and a separate (that was given to one of the spouses during the marriage or inherited by him or her, or acquired before marriage). Unlike other states, in North Dakota, a court can divide both common and separate property, if it considers it fair. Even if you have a family value that your family owned from generation to generation, for example a house, anyway the court has the right to share it with your spouse if the spouse doesn't have any other property.

Division of Debt in North Dakota

Along with real estate, the spouses also need to share their debts, and here the rule of equal division also operates. In addition, the court will also deal with whom and under what circumstances the debt was purchased, whether it was before the wedding or during the marriage, as well as who used it. After all the nuances are identified, the court will be able to fairly distribute the debt obligations between the spouses.

Divorce Mediation in North Dakota

The practice of mediation is very successful for couples, which have controversial issues. Mediators are the third party that is not interested in winning one of the spouses, the goal of the mediators is to help the divorcing couple find a compromise. In North Dakota there are no requirements that oblige spouses to seek help from intermediaries, this should be a voluntary desire. But in some situations the court can oblige the spouses to do it, especially if the issue is custody of the minor child. If there were instances of sexual abuse of a child or spouse, the mediators will not assist.

How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in North Dakota

After all the documents are submitted to the court, the Plaintiff must provide the Respondent with copies of all documents. If the Plaintiff does not know the Defendant's location and could not contact him or her in any of the available methods, then there is only one way to dissolve the marriage - get a Divorce by Publication. This method is called so because the Plaintiff must serve the missing spouse by publishing in a local newspaper notice, which must be published once a week for 3 weeks. The Plaintiff also has to sue Affidavit for Service by the Publication. If the Defendant is not found, then the divorce will automatically be considered uncontested.

Default Divorce in North Dakota

Default Divorce can be obtained if the spouse does not respond to the claim. Under the state law, after all documents have been filed, the Claimant must transfer copies to the Defendant. After that, the Defendant has 20 days to file his or her Response if he or she lives in North Dakota or 30 days in case the Respondent is a resident of another state. If, after this period of time, the spouse does not respond to the request, the court will grant a default divorce.

Annulment of the Marriage in North Dakota

Just like divorce, annulment ends marriage, but there is a significant difference. Divorce legally stops marriage, while annulment says that from a legal point of view, marriage never existed, because it was concluded with violations of the law. Reason for cancellation:

  • Bigamy or Polygamy.
  • At the time of the wedding ceremony, one of the spouses was not yet 18 years old.
  • Marriage is concluded between close blood relatives.
  • The spouse was mentally unwell at the time of the wedding ceremony.
  • The marriage was concluded by force or by fraudulent means.

Legal Separation in North Dakota

In North Dakota, legal separation is almost the same as divorce, with the difference only that the spouses do not have the right to marry someone else. In fact, with legal separation, the spouses divide all their property, debts, custody of children, etc. and even can live different lives, while remaining in an official marriage. This can be beneficial for those couples who suffer heavy losses in the case of an official divorce. To obtain a legal separation, the spouses need to make a Separation Agreement - a contract that details how the spouses decide all their controversial issues.

Same-Sex Divorce in North Dakota

Same-sex marriages are allowed in North Dakota since June 2015. This means that gay marriages can be terminated. In principle, in North Dakota there are no special rules for the dissolution, the procedure is exactly the same as for heterosexual divorce?. The only difficulty that same-sex marriages can be encountered is the division of property, especially if the spouses began to cohabit before the gay marriages were officially recognized in North Dakota. Thus, if the spouses began to live together until June 2015, it will be difficult enough to decide what property is common and which one is separate, so in this case it may be necessary to get help from a qualified lawyer.

Military Divorce in North Dakota

Legislation protects active military personnel from default divorce. Similarly, if the spouse wants to divorce, then he or she must serve the military - spouse personally. In addition, according to the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521 and in the discretion of the local North Dakota, a court examination of the divorce case with the military spouse will be postponed for the entire duration of his or her service plus 60 days in excess of this period. Legislation also protects military pensions from separation. Thus, the spouse has the right to claim a part of the military pension only if the marriage lasted no longer than 10 years, and the spouse-military all this time was in the service.

How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in North Dakota

Getting divorced from a spouse who is in prison is not easy, but possible. You will need to file not only all the necessary forms, but also those documents on the basis of which the spouse is serving a prison sentence. You can also contact the correctional staff to transfer copies of documents for divorce to your almost former. You will also need to attend the final hearing, but it is unlikely that your spouse will be there. In general, a divorce with a person who is serving a prison sentence takes a little longer, but anyway it is real to obtain it.

North Dakota Divorce Filing Fee

To file for divorce you need to go to court and register your papers. In addition, you also have to pay a mandatory filing fee which varies from county to county, and is about $80.

Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?

Yes, it can be. The court can cancel the fee for you, if you prove that you really can not pay for it. You need to fill out the Petition for Waiver of Fees and file it with the court clerk.

How We Can Help

Our services are always ready to help you in preparing all the necessary papers. As soon as possible, we will provide you with ready-made forms that will be 100% approved by the court, we will also send you the instructions with the steps that need to be taken further. With our help, you do not have to worry about your divorce.

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