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What You Need to Know About Getting Divorced in North Dakota

Getting a divorce can be a long, tedious process. For those going through the process for the first time, there are undoubtedly many questions that you may have. Our Fargo divorce lawyers explain divorce in North Dakota in this comprehensive guide.

Requirements to Get a Divorce in North Dakota

North Dakota does not require either spouse to have been married in the state to grant a divorce in the state. However, there are residency requirements. To get divorced in North Dakota, the filing party (the plaintiff) must have been:

  • A resident of ND for at least six months prior to starting the divorce process, or
  • A resident of ND for six months before the court grants the divorce

Uncontested Vs. Contested Divorce

There are two types of divorce processes — contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree to all of the terms of the divorce, like child custody and support, alimony, property division, and other matters. If the court agrees to the couple’s proposed settlement, the divorce will be granted. Uncontested divorces are often cheaper, quicker, and less stressful to go through.

On the other hand, a contested divorce is when the couple doesn’t agree to all of the terms of their divorce settlement. Therefore, they will need to try to negotiate the terms through the collaborative divorce process or mediation or proceed to litigation, where a judge will make decisions for them.

Is North Dakota a No-Fault or Fault-Based Divorce State?

In North Dakota, the law allows for both fault and no-fault divorces. If you are seeking a no-fault divorce, you can state irreconcilable differences as the grounds for divorce.

However, if there is a specific reason for wanting a divorce, you can file for a fault-based divorce. If you are seeking a fault-based divorce, there are several reasons (also called grounds for divorce) that can be stated.

Fault-based grounds for divorce in North Dakota include:

  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Willful desertion
  • Willful neglect
  • Abuse of alcohol or controlled substance
  • Conviction of a felony

How Long Does a ND Divorce Take?

The duration of the divorce process depends on several factors. For uncontested divorces, the process is approximately 60 days from filing the divorce papers. However, the exact time can differ depending on the court’s schedule and whether or not there are case backlogs.

A contested divorce, on the other hand, takes much longer. Depending on how complex the couple’s unresolved issues are, the process will continue for however long it takes them to come to an agreement on their divorce issues. This could last several months and even up to a year or more.

To make the divorce process as fast as possible, there are a few things you can do to expedite the process. First, try to be cooperative with your spouse to resolve your issues with as little contention as possible. Uncontested divorces are far less difficult and remove many of the legal hurdles from the divorce process, thus making the overall timeline go faster. On top of that, it’s less expensive as well.

However, not every couple can do this. There are many unique circumstances that can prevent couples from being able to agree on a settlement with each other. Therefore, if you do have a contested divorce, you can still do things to help speed up the process. For example, always appear on time for all court proceedings, pay attention to any requests for information and deliver them as soon as possible, and be open to being flexible when negotiating the terms of your settlement.

Contact a Fargo Divorce Attorney Today

At Circling Eagle Law, our Fargo divorce lawyers are dedicated to helping families through difficult times. If you are considering filing for divorce or have already begun the process, our team of legal professionals will walk you through every step while protecting your best interests. Contact our team to discuss your case today.

Looking for more information about divorce in North Dakota? Call us at (701) 401-7404 to speak to a Fargo divorce attorney today.


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