Uncontested Divorce in North Dakota
The divorce process in North Dakota is divided into 3 types:
- Сontested divorce is designed for couples who can’t independently resolve issues related to marital property division, child custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), etc. In such a case, spouses go through lengthy court litigation and hire lawyers to defend their interests. The judge makes a decision based on local laws and regulations.
- Summary divorce procedure is created for spouses who can’t agree on all marital issues before they initiate divorce, but their case is relatively simple, and partners are likely to agree before the final hearing. In addition, spouses may only qualify for such a divorce if their total assets are less than $50,000, not including the value of their marital home.
- Uncontested divorce suits couples who have settled all their marital disputes in a Marital Settlement Agreement before filing the petition for divorce. This option allows spouses to proceed without hiring a lawyer and use online divorce platforms for a fast and cheap paperwork preparation process.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
Online divorce forms preparation (online divorce, in short) is a quick and affordable way to get completed papers for an uncontested divorce. It helps spouses use their resources rationally.
Platforms such as DivorceOnline allow you to select and fill out divorce documents from the comfort of your home with no legal background required at an affordable price of $139. All you need to do is complete the self-guided online questionnaire. You can do it at your own pace using a laptop, desktop computer, or even your smartphone.
Moreover, it includes written filing instructions for finalizing a divorce in North Dakota. Thus, you won’t waste your time searching for this information.
North Dakota divorce papers for an uncontested divorce include the following forms:
- Form 1: Summons;
- Form 2: Complaint;
- Form 3: Settlement Agreement;
- Form 4: Exhibit A: Confidential Division of Property & Debt & Values;
- Form 5: Admission of Service;
- Form 6: Affidavit of Proof for Stipulated Judgment;
- Form 7: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for Judgment (Proposed);
- Form 8: Judgment (Proposed);
- Form 9: Confidential Information Form;
- Form 10: Notice of Entry of Judgment.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in North Dakota
The uncontested divorce legal process consists of several stages. Following them correctly, spouses can avoid complications and move on to their new separate lives losing less time, finances, and nerves.
North Dakota Family Law clearly describes the residency requirements for a plaintiff (the filing spouse) in a divorce case.
- The plaintiff must have been a state resident for 6 months before initiating legal action.
- If the plaintiff fails to comply with this requirement, they must reside in the state for 6 months before the divorce decision becomes valid.
Each couple must indicate their reasons for the breakup. What’s more, the ground stated must be legally accepted in North Dakota.
Spouses can choose one of the fault-based grounds for divorce in North Dakota if they want to disclose one of the partner’s misconduct. It can be:
- Extreme cruelty;
- Willful desertion for one year;
- Willful neglect for one year;
- Abuse of alcohol or controlled substances for one year;
- Conviction of a felony.
The applicant must provide evidence to the court to confirm any of the above reasons.
If there wasn’t any marital misconduct, or spouses don’t want to disclose it, they can use irreconcilable differences. It’s called a no-fault divorce in North Dakota.
To initiate divorce in North Dakota, the plaintiff must fill out the appropriate divorce papers and file them with the North Dakota State District Court.
Divorce Papers in North Dakota
Preparation of required divorce forms is one of the most difficult stages in a divorce, as each situation requires a different set of documents. The basic North Dakota divorce papers needed for almost any uncontested divorce case include:
- Settlement Agreement
- Confidential Division of Property & Debt & Values
- Confidential Information Form
Although North Dakota Courts Self-Help Center provides blank the divorce forms mentioned above, spouses should contact their court clerk to make sure they are up-to-date and relevant for their case.
Couples who want to simplify the process of preparing divorce documents can use DivorceOnline. The platform offers an easy-to-use tool to select case-specific divorce papers and fill them out quickly.
When submitting divorce paperwork to the North Dakota court, the plaintiff must pay a mandatory filing fee. In this state, it’s about $80.
If divorcing spouses experience financial difficulties, they can apply for a waiver. The plaintiff must fill out Petition for Order Waiving Fees and Financial Affidavit and sign it in front of a Notary Public. After reviewing the documents, the judge will decide whether or not to cancel the fee.
North Dakota courts don’t have any specific mandatory waiting period between filing documents with the court and getting a divorce decree, except for the six-month residency requirement.
In addition, a final decree must specify the time when spouses may remarry.
When it comes to delivering copies of documents to the defendant, known as service, North Dakota has unique rules. The defendant must be served before all the papers are filed with the court.
Usually, the plaintiff can arrange service in one of three ways:
- Through personal delivery by a person who has reached the age of 18 and isn’t involved in the case;
- By mail;
- By simply asking the other party to accept service, which is typical for uncontested cases.
Whichever way the applicant chooses, the acknowledgment of service must be submitted to the court.
After the defendant is served, forms are filed with the court, filing fees are paid, and the judge reviews the case. They can approve forms right away or schedule a hearing depending on the circumstances. The court clerk will notify spouses of any decision.
Getting a Divorce With Children
Depending on divorce type, couples with children in North Dakota have two options for dealing with child-related issues.
Spouses seeking an uncontested divorce can decide on child custody matters on their own without bringing these questions to the courtroom. This approach helps parents and their children avoid the unnecessary stress of hearings. Moreover, it allows the spouses to come to an agreement and create a parenting plan that satisfies the interests of both parents and children.
If the spouses can’t agree, the judge will decide on child custody, parenting time, visitation rights, decision-making responsibility, and all other related aspects, taking into account the best interests of minor children. To determine which arrangement meets those interests, North Dakota courts consider the following factors:
- Relationship between parents and child;
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, developmental, and emotional needs;
- Level of stability at each parent’s home environment;
- Each parent’s willingness to support a close relationship between the other parent and the child;
- Each parent’s moral fitness, mental and physical health;
- The child’s ties to the school, home, and community;
- If the child is old enough to make a sound judgment, the court may take into account their wishes;
- Evidence of domestic violence;
- The child’s interaction with any person who lives or is present in the household of a parent;
- False allegations by one parent against the other of harming a child;
- Any other relevant factor.
Another important point in divorce with children involved is deciding child support payments. Most often, a parent with less parental time should pay child support to the custodial parent.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses can independently decide how much one spouse will pay to the other. If the judge decides this issue, which is typical for a contested divorce, the amount of child support will be calculated based on local child support guidelines and the following factors:
- Net income of both parents;
- Other resources available to help parents support and raise their children;
- Any additional circumstances that may be considered to reduce the amount.
All child support payments must be paid to the North Dakota disbursement unit for remittance to the receiving spouse.
Filing for Divorce in North Dakota Without a Lawyer
Divorcing without legal assistance and advice in North Dakota is possible if spouses file for an uncontested divorce. Thus, they can represent themselves, saving money on legal fees.
But even if the spouses can’t reach an agreement to qualify for an uncontested process, hiring a lawyer or a law firm isn’t the only way out of their situation. Partners can use alternative methods of resolving issues, such as mediation.
A professional mediator listens to each side and offers a solution to satisfy both parties. Once an agreement is reached, the spouses become eligible for an uncontested divorce. Thus, they can file for divorce without an attorney.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in North Dakota
A DIY divorce in North Dakota assumes that spouses do everything independently without outside help. Of course, if the case is contested, spouses can’t skip the “hiring a lawyer or a law firm” part. However, the do-it-yourself option is very popular among spouses who separate peacefully.
Online divorce technologies can simplify some aspects of such a divorce. DivorceOnline helps spouses select and fill out all the necessary documents for their uncontested divorce in a matter of days.
With this tool, you can complete divorce forms yourself even if you have no legal background. It works on different devices using an Internet connection, so you don’t need to go anywhere to use DivorceOnline. And all this for just $139, while a lawyer can cost you at least $240 per hour.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The duration of the divorce proceedings directly depends on the complexity of the case and the court’s workload. Spouses filing an uncontested divorce can expect to receive a final judgment in a shorter time than those seeking a contested divorce.
On average, an amicable breakup can be finished within 2-3 months, while complicated cases can be reviewed for a year or more.
The costs of an uncontested divorce process in North Dakota can include two main items:
- Filing fees;
- Document preparation expenses.
The local filing fee is around $80. Legal paperwork can cost $139 if spouses use DivorceOnline to complete their forms.
Couples whose financial situation doesn’t allow them to pay the court fee may apply to waive it. They need to fill out some additional forms and provide proof of financial hardship. If court approval is granted, the filing spouse won’t need to pay these costs.
Legal forms may vary depending on the divorce proceeding specifics and the county. Thus, it’s always helpful to check everything with the local court clerk.
Standard uncontested divorce forms each couple should complete are:
- Settlement Agreement;
- Confidential Division of Property & Debt & Values;
- Confidential Information Form;
- Affidavit of Proof for Stipulated Judgment.
Another affordable way is to get appropriate divorce forms online is using DivorceOnline. This top-notch platform provides instruments to select state-specific papers and complete them following local rules. Thus, you can file for your own divorce without a lawyer.