NORTH DAKOTA DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
NORTH DAKOTA 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE
|This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of North Dakota. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorce TM you will complete and print your uncontested North Dakota divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file your own divorce in North Dakota in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy.
Online Divorce FAQ: North Dakota
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in North Dakota.
How Does Online Divorce Work in North Dakota?
North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in North Dakota?
North Dakota has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in North Dakota?
In order to get divorced in North Dakota, the spouse who files the divorce papers (the “plaintiff”) must have lived in the state for at least six months just before either:
- the filing date, or
- the date when the judge signs the final divorce judgment.
(N.D. Cent. Code § 14-05-17 (2022).)
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in North Dakota?
North Dakota law allows both “fault” and “no-fault” legal reasons (“grounds”) for divorce. A fault divorce is based on a claim that your marriage is ending because your spouse engaged in a certain kind of misconduct, such as adultery, extreme cruelty, substance abuse, or desertion.
When you file for a no-fault divorce, in contrast, you simply claim that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.” (N.D. Cent. Code § 14-05-17 (2022).)
A fault-based divorce doesn’t qualify as an “uncontested divorce” (more on that below), and it will almost always be more expensive and lengthy than a no-fault divorce—because the spouse accused of misconduct is sure to fight the claims of misconduct. That’s why the vast majority of couples choose no-fault divorce.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in North Dakota?
Many couples are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing for an uncontested divorce in North Dakota. That means that they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
- how to divide their property and debts
- alimony (known as “spousal support” in North Dakota), and
- child custody, visitation, and child support (if they have minor children).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
You may use North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ as long as you have an uncontested divorce and meet the state’s residency requirement. You’ll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ will guide you through the process of creating this agreement, based on your answers to the questionnaire.
North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren’t ready to file for divorce, but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you’re separated but still legally married.
What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Can I Get an Online Divorce in North Dakota If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, that means the child must have lived in North Dakota with a parent (or a parent figure) during the entire six-month period before you file for divorce (or since birth if the child is younger than six months old). If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule. (N.D. Cent. Code §§ 14-14.1-01, 14-14.1-12 (2022).)
How Will My Online Divorce in North Dakota Deal With Child Support?
In North Dakota, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, North Dakota has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides the North Dakota Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. Any time the amount of child support deviates from the guideline, the judge must find that applying the guideline would be “unjust or inappropriate” under the criteria outlined in North Dakota’s child support regulations. (42 U.S.C. § 667(b)(2); N.D. Regs.§ 75-02-04.1-09 (2022).)
You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will need to review and approve your agreement. In your settlement agreement, you may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
After your divorce in North Dakota is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support by filing a motion or petition for amendment. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order. (N.D. Cent. Code § 14-09-08.4(4) (2022).)
If you’re receiving services (such as payment processing or enforcement) from the Child Support Division of the North Dakota Department of Human Services, you may be able to request a review of your existing child support order. If the review shows that a change in the amount of support is warranted under the guidelines, it will help with the court process to review an amendment of the existing order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to amend a child support order, you and your spouse may agree to a change on your own. As a general rule, you’ll need to submit your agreement to a judge or the child support agency, so that it can be made part of a formal court order.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for North Dakota 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:
- selling the house and splitting the proceeds
- transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
- continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your North Dakota 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in North Dakota?
You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your North Dakota divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers in North Dakota?
When you get your completed forms with North Dakota 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to take them to be filed at the court clerk’s office in the county where your spouse lives. If your spouse doesn’t live in North Dakota, you may file your divorce papers in the county where you live. (N.D. Cent. Code § 28-04-05 (2022).)
How Much Is North Dakota’s Filing Fee for Divorce?
For divorce, the North Dakota district courts charge a filing fee of $80 (as of 2022, though always subject to change).
What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?
If you can’t afford the filing fee, you may apply for a waiver by submitting a petition for waiver of fees, along with a financial affidavit supporting your request and a proposed order for the judge to sign. When you’re asking for a fee waiver in North Dakota, you must submit your request and wait for an answer from the court before you file your divorce papers.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in North Dakota?
North Dakota doesn’t have a mandatory waiting period before you can get your final divorce, as long as you’ve met the six-month residency requirement (discussed above) by that time. After you’ve filed all of the required paperwork for an uncontested divorce (including a proposed divorce judgment and your spouse’s “admission of service”), you can typically finalize your divorce as soon as a judge is available to review your paperwork and sign the judgment. That could take from one to three months, depending on how busy your local court is and whether you’ll need to appear for a hearing (which isn’t typically required for uncontested divorces).
How Can I Get More Help With North Dakota Online Divorce?
North Dakota 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our North Dakota Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about North Dakota law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.