Grounds for divorce
Division of marital property
Child support / Custody
Spousal support / Alimony
Divorce in the State of North Dakota may be granted for one of the following causes:
- Adultery, that is defined as a voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with a person other than his/her husband or wife;
- Willful and continued desertion for at least one year;
- Extreme cruelty which endangers the safety or health of the plaintiff or makes it improper or unreasonable to expect the plaintiff to continue to cohabit with the defendant;
- Willful neglect that is the failure of either spouse to provide for the common necessaries of life for the other party for at least 1 year, when that spouse has the ability to do so and the party alleging neglect does not have the ability, or when a spouse fails to provide by reason of idleness, profligacy, or dissipation;
- Abuse of alcohol or controlled substances to that degree of use which disqualifies the person a great portion of the time from properly attending to business or which reasonably would inflict a course of great mental anguish upon the innocent party;
- Conviction of felony;
- Irreconcilable differences that are those grounds determined by the court to be substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved. (North Dakota Century Code; Chapters 14-05-03 – 14-05-09.1)
Separation may be granted on the same grounds as divorce.
What is the difference between fault divorce and no-fault divorce?
In order to obtain divorce in North Dakota a Plaintiff must be a resident of ND for at least 6 (six month) before filing a petition for divorce. If the plaintiff has not been a resident of this state
for the six months preceding commencement of the action, a separation or divorce may be granted if the plaintiff in good faith has been a resident of this state for the six months immediately preceding
entry of the decree of separation or divorce. The action must be brought in the county in which the defendant or one of the defendants resides at the time of the commencement of the action.
(North Dakota Century Code; Chapters 14-05-17 and 28-04-05)
When a divorce is granted, the court shall make an equitable distribution of the property and debts of the parties. The court may redistribute property in a post-judgment proceeding if a party has failed
to disclose property and debts as required by rules adopted by the supreme court or the party fails to comply with the terms of a court order distributing property and debts.
(North Dakota Century Code, Chapter 14-05-24)
In any proceeding involving the custody of a minor child, the rights of both parents shall be equal.
According to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the court determines child custody issues based on the best interests of the child.
In determining the amount to be paid by a parent for support of the child and the period during which the duty of support is owed, the court in those cases not governed by court rule shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and child;
- The capacity and disposition of the parents to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education of the child;
- 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; The making of false allegations not made in good faith, by one parent against the other, of harm to a child;
- Any other factors considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
(North Dakota Century Code, Chapter 14-09-06.2)
Taking into consideration the circumstances of the parties, the court may require one party to pay spousal support to the other party for any period of time. (North Dakota Century Code, Chapter 14-05-24.1)
When it comes to child custody, child support or visitation, courts in North Dakota encourage mediation to enable the parties to resolve the dispute voluntarily. (North Dakota Century Code, Chapter 14-09.1) The mediation is ordered at the parties own expense.
A mediator may be chosen from a list of qualified mediators approved by a court and conduct the mediation procedure in private.
The court, upon or after granting a divorce from the bonds of matrimony to either spouse, may allow either spouse to resume prior name used by the spouse before the marriage.