North Dakota Divorce Laws

North Dakota Divorce Requirements

The state of North Dakota requires that individuals petitioning for divorce 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.

North Dakota divorceWhen 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 by petitioning for couples counseling. No-fault grounds include irreconcilable differences. 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 documents 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 a 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.

Filing with the Court in North Dakota

You must file your North Dakota divorce papers in the court located in the County where you presently reside. We will provide the court information in the documents that we send to you, but some of the courts in North Dakota are listed below:

  • Burleigh County District Court:
    Burleigh County Courthouse, 514 East Thayer Ave, P.O. Box 1055, Bismarck, ND 58502-1055 Phone 701-222-6690
  • Stark County District Court:
    Stark County Courthouse, 51 3rd St. E., Suite 106, Dickinson, ND 58601 Phone 701-227-3184, Fax 701-227-3185
  • Ward County District Court:
    Ward County Courthouse, 315 SE 3rd St., P.O. Box 5005, Minot ND 58702-5005 Phone 701-857-6600
  • Stutsman County District Court:
    Stutsman County Courthouse, 511 2nd Ave. SE, Jamestown, ND 58401-4210 Phone 701-252-9042, Fax 701-251-1006
  • Cass County District Court:
    Cass County Courthouse, 211 S. 9th St., P.O. Box 2806, Fargo, ND 58108-2806 Phone 701-241-5645
  • Grand Forks County District Court:
    Grand Forks County Courthouse, P.O. Box 5939, Grand Forks, ND 58206-5939 Phone Civil 701-787-2715 Fax: 701-787-2716
  • Richland County District Court:
    Richland County Courthouse, 418 2nd Ave. N., Wahpeton, ND 58075 Phone 701-671-1524, Fax: 701-671-4444

If your County court is not listed, the information for your court will be included in the divorce papers we send you.

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 on 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 maybe awarded otherwise.


Commonly asked questions regarding divorce laws in North Dakota often revolve around crucial aspects. Here are some frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers:

What are the Grounds for Divorce in North Dakota?

North Dakota allows both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. No-fault grounds typically include irreconcilable differences, while fault-based grounds might involve adultery, cruelty, willful desertion, or substance abuse.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in North Dakota?

The time required to finalize a divorce in North Dakota can vary based on court schedules, case complexity, and whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. Typically, it can take several months to a year or more.

How Is Property Divided in a Divorce in North Dakota?

North Dakota follows the principle of equitable distribution. Marital property and debts are divided fairly, though not necessarily equally, based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, and their contributions during the marriage.

Does North Dakota Have Alimony (Spousal Support)?

Yes, North Dakota allows for spousal support. The court may award temporary or long-term support based on factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, and their contributions during the marriage.

How Does North Dakota Handle Child Custody and Support?

Child custody decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. North Dakota courts consider various factors including the child’s relationship with each parent, the parents’ ability to provide for the child, and the child’s wishes (if they’re of sufficient age). Child support is determined using the North Dakota Child Support Guidelines.

Do We Need to Go to Court for a Divorce in North Dakota?

If both parties can agree on all terms of the divorce, they might not need to go to court. Uncontested divorces can often be settled through paperwork and negotiation outside of court. However, if disputes persist, a court appearance might be necessary.

Can I Modify a Divorce Decree in North Dakota?

Modifications to child support, child custody, or spousal support are possible under certain circumstances if there’s a substantial change in circumstances. Legal procedures are typically required for modifications.

These questions address common concerns individuals have when navigating divorce in North Dakota. However, specifics can vary based on each unique situation, and seeking legal counsel is advisable to address individual circumstances and receive accurate guidance throughout the divorce process.

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