North Dakota Divorce Laws

North Dakota Divorce Requirements

The state of North Dakota requires that individuals petitioning for divorce to be state residents. Residency is a stipulation as divorce cases are handled by county courts. An individual must be a North Dakota resident for a minimum of six months prior to filing for divorce. However a separation can be granted if the individual resides in the state for six months following the separation granting.

When both individuals reside in state lines either may petition for divorce in his or her county. One individual, residing in the state, may petition for a divorce through the county of his or her spouse under this allowance.

Grounds for Divorce Filing

Two individuals may petition for divorce on decided grounds or one individual may petition the court on certain grounds but will have to provide evidence for these grounds in court. Each state has different grounds for which it deems legal to petition for divorce. Not all states have the same grounds. North Dakota grounds are broken into two different sections.

The first section is called No-Fault grounds where no individual is held responsible for the petition for divorce. Under these grounds many couples have preceded divorce petitioning with couple’s counseling. No-Fault grounds include irreconcilable difference. These grounds must prove that the marriage cannot be mended under any circumstances.

The second section is called Fault grounds where one individual is held responsible for the petition for divorce. Fault grounds include extreme cruelty of one individual to another, adultery of either spouse, willfully deserting a spouse, continual alcohol abuse or abuse of controlled substances, willfully neglecting a spouse, and conviction of a felony offense that will result in several years of incarceration.

Divorce Documents

Each divorce case is different and the number of documents required depends on the marriage’s circumstances. For example if children are present, more document will be required. Documents can be very few or can be as high as twenty for a single divorce.

Some of these documents can include a Complaint for Divorce and Decree of Divorce form, a Verification form, a Notice of Final Hearing form, a Marital Settlement Agreement form, a Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction form, and a Financial Affidavit form. All of the documents will be filed to the county clerk’s office where the divorce was petitioned.

Distributing Property

North Dakota is considered an equitable distribution state where all of the marital property acquired during the marriage will be divided fairly. Under this law property does not necessarily have to be divided equally between the spouses.

If the individuals cannot reach an agreement for who shall keep which property, the court will award the property accordingly. The court will consider each individual’s circumstances before awarding property, including employment, child custody, economic status, opportunity for employment, contribution to the household, and others.

The parent with child custody may be awarded the family home in a settlement. All the property obtained prior to the marriage shall be kept by that individual. Exchanged gifts may be kept or may be awarded otherwise.