The law relating to divorce in the State of North Dakota is governed by the North Dakota Century Code by Title 14-05 'Divorce'. Divorce is the dissolution of marriage, and the law of this State states it may be dissolved only either by the death of one of the parties; or by a judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction decreeing a divorce of the parties.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
The grounds that are recognized by the North Dakota Century Code either a No-fault ground or the general ground.
No- fault grounds is the ground of irreconcilable differences are those grounds which are determined by the court to be substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.
ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE
Grounds for annulling marriage
A marriage may be annulled by an action in the district court to obtain a decree of nullity for any of the following causes existing at the time of the marriage:
Legitimacy of children
When a marriage is annulled, children begotten before the judgment are legitimate and succeed to the estate of both parents.
The grounds for legal separation (separation from bed and board) in North Dakota are:
The spouse filing for legal separation must be a resident of North Dakota for at least 6 months prior to the entry of the legal separation or commencement of the action.
Filing complaint for divorce
A complaint for divorce may be filed by either husband or wife or by both of them jointly in the District Court of the county of their ordinary place of residence.
The spouse filing for divorce must be a resident of North Dakota for at least 6 months prior to the filing of the divorce or the entry of the final divorce. If the defendant is a resident of North Dakota, the divorce must be filed in the county where the defendant resides. If the defendant is not a resident, the divorce may be filed for in any county that the plaintiff designates in the complaint.
Limitation of time
There are no limitations of time for commencing actions for divorce. But however, a divorce may be denied when there is an unreasonable lapse of time before the commencement of the action. Unreasonable lapse of time is such a delay in commencing the action as establishes the presumption that there has been connivance, collusion, or condonation of the offense, or full acquiescence in the same, with intent to continue the marriage relation. The presumption arising from lapse of time may be rebutted by showing reasonable grounds for the delay in commencing the action.
MEDIATION OR COUNSELING
In an action for divorce or legal separation where child support or child custody is an issue, the court may order the parents to submit to mediation, unless there has been physical or sexual abuse of a spouse or child.
North Dakota is an "equitable distribution" state. All of the spouse's property, including gifts, inheritances, and any acquired prior to the marriage, will be equitably distributed as the court feels is just and proper.
Either spouse may be required to make allowances for the support of the other spouse for his or her entire life or a shorter period. All of the circumstances of the situation may be considered. There are no other specific factors for consideration set out in the statute. Support payments may be required to be made through the clerk of the court.
Child custody is awarded according to the best interests and welfare of the child, and based on the following factors:
Any evidence of child or spouse abuse or domestic violence creates a presumption that custody or visitation with that parent would not be in the best interests of the child. If there is any evidence of sexual abuse of a child, the court is required to prohibit any visitation or contact with that parent unless the parent has completed counseling and the court determines that supervised visitation is in the best interests of the child. Both parents are considered to be equally entitled to custody of a child.
Either parent may be ordered to pay child support. The amount awarded will be based on consideration of the amount that is needed to give the child support and an education suitable to the child's circumstances. There are specific child support guidelines that the court will consider which have been prepared by the North Dakota Department of Human Services. All child support orders will be reviewed every 3 years, unless neither parent requests such a review.
The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties and enforceable without consideration. The agreement is enforceable if proven that