Serving Families Throughout The Fargo And Moorhead Area With Care And Respect

How to begin your divorce process in North Dakota

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce is a traumatic and arduous process for both spouses especially when children are involved. However, ending a dysfunctional marriage may also lead to healing for those left in its wake.

While it won’t be easy, it’s helpful to get ahead of the situation and learn what steps to take if you are a resident of North Dakota looking to end your marriage.

Lawyer up

The first and most important step If you want to leave a broken marriage is to find an attorney to represent you and file a divorce petition. Your lawyer may also advise if you should legally separate from your spouse during the process.

The petition, also known as divorce papers, is a legal document which tells the court the following:

  • Why you want to end your marriage
  • How you want to settle the division of finances
  • How you wish to arrange the custody of your children

You must address other factors in your petition, but these are some of the most critical points that arise during divorce proceedings.

In North Dakota, where this information applies, law dictates that the spouse who wants a divorce must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing your petition.

Serving the petition

After hiring an attorney, crafting a divorce petition, and filing it in state court, your legal representation must then serve your petition to your spouse.

Under North Dakota state law, your spouse must respond to your petition 21 days after your lawyer serves them the documents. The divorce process officially begins with the service of papers.

Your spouse must now respond to your divorce petition, and these are some possible outcomes:

  • If your spouse agrees: The court might grant an uncontested divorce if your spouse agrees to all the terms in your petition as is.
  • If your spouse fails to answer: Your spouse has 21 days to answer, as stated above. If they do not, the state court will assume they agree to your terms and grant a default divorce judgment.
  • If your spouse disagrees: Your spouse might disagree with some terms in your petition, which could lead to a long and expensive process of mediations, settlement attempts or even a divorce trial.

Whatever the case may be, divorce is a painful process. Knowing the steps you need to take will ease your transition into healing from a broken marriage.