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North Dakota divorce details

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Uncontested VS Contested Divorce in North Dakota

Uncontested divorce is a simple and quick way to terminate a marriage because there is no need for long court hearings. 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 as soon as a few months. A contested divorce is the complete opposite. It implies that there are unresolved issues between the spouses that require them to attend long and stressful court hearings. Such a divorce can last for many months, or even a year. The time really depends on the number and complexity of issues that need to be resolved between the spouses.

Uncontested vs Contested Divorce
Uncontested divorce in North Dakota

Uncontested Divorce in North Dakota

Uncontested divorces are gaining in popularity, as it is a much faster and cheaper way to dissolve a marriage. It is perfect for couples who do not have controversial issues or for those who are ready to cooperate to settle all their differences. 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 minor children.
  • Amount and duration of alimony.
  • Grounds for divorce.
  • Any other nuances that may arise in the process of divorce.

Spouses need to complete and sue an 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 attending court. The judge will make the final decision quickly enough if they understand all the circumstances of the marriage.

Grounds for Divorce in North Dakota

There must be legal grounds that led to the intention to dissolve the marriage in order to file for divorce. Like most states, there are two main types of grounds for divorce 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 indicate 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 it led to the breakdown of the marriage. Fault grounds include:
  • Adultery of one of the spouses.
  • Extreme cruelty.
  • Deliberate neglect of a partner or desertion.
  • Alcohol or drug addiction.
  • Conviction of a criminal offense by one of the spouses.

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North Dakota Residency Requirements to file for the divorce

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, you must be a resident 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 provides some breathing room and allows couples to file for divorce 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 order to file for an uncontested divorce, you must first complete the Summons and Complaint. You can fill them out yourself, with the help of a lawyer, or through and online document preparation service.

You must then file them with the court along with any other necessary documents regarding your case. If you and your spouse reached an agreement to all the controversial issues, you also need to fill out the Divorce Settlement Agreement and file it.

Make sure to make copies of all the documents as you need to provide, or ‘serve’, your spouse with them. You can ignore this step if you file the lawsuit together with your spouse.

After your spouse receives the documents, they have 20 days (if they are a resident of North Dakota) or 35 days (if they reside outside of North Dakota) to file an Answer to the Petition. After you and your spouse complete all these steps, there is a waiting period of 1 to 3 months, depending on the workload of the court. In some cases, the final decision can be obtained without even attending a court hearing.

How to file for an Uncontested Divorce?
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in North Dakota

Do-It-Yourself Divorce in North Dakota

n the case of an uncontested divorce, you can go through the entire process without the participation of a lawyer. You have the right to independently fill out all the documents, file them with the court, and also represent your own interests. DIY divorce is very suitable for couples who have no disputes and are ready to cooperate. In many cases, do-it-yourself divorce can help save a lot of time and money. However, if you are not confident in your abilities or if you have doubts regarding the steps, then it makes sense for you to seek the help of a qualified lawyer.

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?

The basic cost of an uncontested divorce is equal to the court fee, which is on average $200. In addition, if you wish to hire a lawyer to help guide you through the process, their average hourly rate is $210.

How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost in North Dakota

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

Usually, an uncontested divorce in North Dakota takes between 30 to 90 days from the time when all the necessary documents are submitted with the court. In terms of a contested divorce, it is difficult to estimate how long it will take, as each case is unique and requires a separate approach. But in general, a contested divorce can last several months or even up to a year, depending on the number and complexity of the issues that need to be resolved.

How to Serve Your Spouse in North Dakota

After you file all the documents with the court, you must serve your spouse with copies of them. You can deliver the documents in person, which in this case, they must complete the Admission of Service to confirm that the serving was successful. If your spouse works with a lawyer during the divorce process, you must send the documents to the corresponding lawyer’s office.

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 they received the forms and 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 work.

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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in North Dakota

Below is a basic list of the main documents you need to file for divorce in North Dakota:

  • 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

Note that you do not need to complete all these documents. You are only required to submit forms that correspond to the circumstances of your case. It is important the paperwork are filed correctly, otherwise the court will reject them.

Online Divorce in North Dakota

Online divorce refers to the process of preparing all the necessary documents accurately through an online service. You just need to order the papers, pay the filing fee, print out the documents, and file them at court. Such a process can help you save a lot of money as compared to getting the documents completed with the help of an attorney. For just $139, you can rest assured that the documents are prepared accurately and on time to be approved by the court.

Online Divorce in North Dakota
Rules for child support in North Dakota

Rules for Child Support and Visitation in North Dakota

The courts of North Dakota are always guided by the best interests of the child when it comes to dividing custody properly. It is recommended that the parents negotiate and come to an agreement on their own regarding this issue. However, if the spouses are unsuccessful, the court will make a decision based on the analysis of the following factors:

  • Emotional atmosphere of the family
  • 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 deems that they are mature enough to think reasonably.
  • Any other circumstances that the court deems important.

It is also very important for the parents to prepare a parenting plan that details the schedule of the child as to how much time they will spend with each parent. If the spouses are unable to provide such a document, the court will determine the schedule.

In addition, parents are also required to provide financial support for 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

Spousal support, or alimony, is a payment made from one spouse to the other during or after the divorce. Typically, alimony is paid to a low-income spouse to maintain their needs and are as follows:

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

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

Permanent spousal support - is paid for a long period in the case the spouse has no opportunity to become financially independent.

In North Dakota, there are no rules or formulas for calculating the amount of alimony, 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.
Rules for spousal support in North Dakota
Division of property in North Dakota

Division of Property in North Dakota

North Dakota is considered an equitable division state. This means that property is divided in an equitable (but not necessarily “equal”) way. Although when the court starts to consider the issue of the division of property, it assumes that all property should be divided equally, until the spouses prove otherwise.

It is also important to distinguish between common property (those that were acquired together during the marriage) and separate property (those that were bought or inherited individually prior to the marriage). Unlike other states, in North Dakota, the court can divide both common and separate property, if it is considered to be fair.

Division of Debt in North Dakota

Along with property, debt is also divided in the same way between the spouses. In addition, the court will also take into account with whom and under what circumstances the debt was incurred, 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

Mediation is an alternative to dispute resolution. Mediation helps to reach a mutually acceptable Settlement Agreement. Thus, it is a very important option for an uncontested divorce, especially if issues regarding child custody and property division are involved.

During the mediation session, the spouses meet and negotiate under the guidance of a qualified mediator. The mediator doesn’t order something, but they may provide advice on what decisions are reasonable and express their opinion on what the court would do in certain cases. The mediator basically helps the spouses to build a strategy for the divorce proceeding and reach an agreement.

Divorce Mediation in North Dakota

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How to divorce a missing spouse in North Dakota

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 the documents. If the Plaintiff does not know the Defendant's location and is unable to get in contact with them, then they can request a Divorce by Publication. The Plaintiff must serve the missing spouse by publishing a notice of the divorce in the local newspaper, which must be published once every week for 3 weeks. The Plaintiff must also suean Affidavit for Service by 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 deliver copies of the paperwork to the Defendant. After that, the Defendant has 20 days to file Response (if they live 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.

The Default Divorce in North Dakota
Annulment of the marriage in North Dakota

Annulment of Marriage in North Dakota

Annulment is a process that recognizes a marriage as invalid, or as it never existed in the eyes of the law. Grounds for an annulment include:

  • Bigamy or Polygamy.
  • One of the spouses was not 18 years of age at the time of marriage registration.
  • Marriage is concluded between close blood relatives.
  • One of the spouses as mentally incapicated to give consent at the time of marriage registration.
  • The marriage was concluded by force or fraudulent means.

Legal Separation in North Dakota

Legal Separation is when spouses live apart but are still considered to be legally married. Just like in a divorce, the spouses divide all their property, debts, and custody of children while living separate lives. This can be beneficial for couples who could suffer heavy losses in the case of an official divorce. To obtain legal separation, the spouses need to create a Settlement Agreement. This is a contract that details how the spouses have decided on all the controversial issues.

Legal Separation in North Dakota
The Same-Sex Divorce in North Dakota

Same-Sex Divorce in North Dakota

Same-sex marriage and divorce have been recognized in North Dakota since June 2015. The divorce process is the same as any other standard divorce procedure. However, the difficulty arises when it comes to the issue of property division. Since many same-sex couples cohabitated long before gay marriage became legal, it can be difficult to distinguish between common property and separate property.

Military Divorce in North Dakota

Legislation protects active military personnel from default divorce. Similarly, they must also be served with all the necessary divorce paperwork. In addition, according to the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521 and the discretion of the local North Dakota law, court examination of the divorce case with a military spouse will be postponed for the entire duration of their active service plus an additional 60 days after this period. Legislation also protects military pensions from division unless the marriage lasted longer than 10 years while the military spouse was on active duty.

How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in North Dakota

Getting divorced from a spouse who is in prison is not easy, but still possible. You will need to file all the necessary forms for divorce along with documents on the basis of which your spouse is serving a prison sentence. You can also contact the correctional staff to transfer copies of documents for divorce to your inmate spouse. 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 spouse who is serving a prison sentence takes a little longer, but the overall process is pretty standard.

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North Dakota Divorce Filing Fee

Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.

Divorce filing fee

Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?

The filing fee can be waived for indigent petitioners.You must file with the court the Waiver of Fees and provide proof of your financial difficulty. If the court is convinced, the fee is waived.

How We Can Help

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