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DIY Divorce Guide

Information About Filing for Divorce in ND

Complete divorce guide with state requirements and laws.
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North Dakota Online Divorce Basics This is a divorce reference guide to understand filing for divorce in North Dakota (ND). Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the information you need before, during and after your divorce.
Divorce in North Dakota Made Easy
    • Time Frame: Finalizing the divorce takes a minimum of 30 to 90 days in North Dakota.
    • Where to File: District Court. "State of North Dakota, County of _____________, in the District Court, __________ Judicial District."
    • State Statutes: North Dakota Century Code.
    • Name of Action: Complaint for Divorce.
    • Name of Parties: Plaintiff, the name of the filer, and Defendant, the name of the non-filing party.
    • No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: Both no-fault and fault offered.
    • Primary Documents Filed: Complaint for Divorce and Decree of Divorce.
    • Physical Separation Required: No.
    • Separation Time to File: None.
    • Legal Separation Permitted: Yes, from bed and board.
    • Grounds: No-fault, which means Irreconcilable differences, and fault, which includes adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect, abuse of alcohol or controlled substances, and conviction of felony.
    • Residency Requirement: A person must reside in North Dakota for six months before filing for a divorce, and the action must be brought in the county in which either party resides.
    • Mediation Required: Unless there has been sexual abuse of a spouse or a child, the court may order mediation in any disputed child custody cases.
    • Counseling Required: There is no provision for mandatory divorce counseling in North Dakota.
    • Parenting Classes Required: Parenting classes are only required in North Dakota when deemed necessary by a judge.
    • Filing Fee: $80 (one of the lowest in the U.S.). (See ND Filing Fee Waiver Form)
    • Where to File for Child Support: North Dakota handles child support issues through its North Dakota Child Support Enforcement, a division of the North Dakota Department of Human Services. This agency implements the state's child support laws. The office is located at North Dakota Department of Human Service Child Support Enforcement Division, P.O. Box 7190, Bismarck, ND 58507-7190.
    • Child Support Guidelines Model: North Dakota uses the percentage of income formula that determines child support as a percentage of the income of the noncustodial parent. There are state guideline worksheets and tables to calculate the monthly child support amount.
North Dakota's Administrative Code; Chapter 75-02-04.1 describes the calculation of a parent’s child support obligation. The payor’s income from all sources (salary, bonuses, commissions, pensions, severance pay, royalties, dividends) must be included. The calculated income of a voluntarily unemployed or underemployed payor may be imputed, and the income of unemployed payor may include unemployment insurance, veteran's benefits, Social Security payments. From the gross income, the court subtracts taxes, the child's medical insurance premiums, uninsured medical care, union dues, and retirement contributions. North Dakota courts deviate from the child support amount produced by the guidelines and worksheet. The custodial parent can argue (or the parents agree) that the change is the best interest of the child and one of a number of other conditions must typically occur, such as the receiving parent has 6 or more children or a monthly income that is over $25,000, higher educational costs (i.e. private school) with agreement from the paying spouse, or a medical condition, or higher cost of child care (if for valid reasons, such as employment), or in general an increased or decreased in ability of paying spouse to pay. Child support typically ends at 18 unless agreed to otherwise.
    • Property Division: An equitable distribution state, North Dakota is a so-called "kitchen sink" jurisdiction, which means that separate as well as marital property is subject to distribution.
    • Appreciation of Separate Property: The appreciation of separate property is marital.
    • Attendance at Hearing: When the spouses have minor children, at least one of them must attend a short hearing; otherwise, no.
    • Fault Considered in Property Division: Yes, fault is considered in marital property division.
    • Waiting Period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
    • Ways to Serve Spouse: Personal service of process means delivering a copy of the Summons and Complaint to the defendant personally, or leaving a copy of it at his or her house or usual place of abode, or delivering, at the office of the process server, the Summons and Complaint to his or her spouse when they reside together, or delivering a copy of the Summons and Complaint to his or her agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process, or any form of mail or third-party commercial delivery addressed to the defendant. A defendant, who has not been served personally, may be served by publication.
    • Divorce Records: North Dakota Department of Health - Division of Vital Records
Certified copies of divorce certificates or Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment are not available from the North Dakota Department of Health. The Vitals Statistic Department will have information on divorces, but details regarding the actual proceedings are usually maintained by the district court for each county throughout the state. A party can contact individual county recorders to order divorce records and/or copies of the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment. Anyone needing assistance determining which county the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment was granted can call 701-328-2360 or e-mail the request for information to [email protected]. The North Dakota Department of Health - Division of Vital Records is located at 600 East Boulevard Avenue., Dept. 301, Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0200.


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