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Divorce Law in North Dakota

How to Find a North Dakota Divorce Attorney

Have you seen the movie, Fargo? When you’re dealing with emotions, money, spouses, and in-laws, life can get complicated. People do crazy things. We’re not suggesting that you’d hire kidnappers or put anyone in a wood-chipper.

However, if you work with a North Dakota divorce attorney, who can keep matters calm, you’ll come out of your divorce in one piece. If you choose a shark-like attorney, everyone will lose and have higher fees, increased estrangement, more stress, and less of what you want.

If you are considering divorce and looking for a North Dakota divorce attorney, this article is for you. We’ll review:

  • North Dakota specific divorce law requirements;
  • What you need to know about divorce; and
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a North Dakota divorce lawyer and, if so, how to find one and how to prepare to work with him or her.

North Dakota Divorce Law Specifics

Divorce law varies from state to state. This section highlights what you need to know about North Dakota divorce law.

  • In general, you must have been a resident of North Dakota for at least 6 months prior to the divorce filing.
  • Divorce may be filed based upon either “no-fault” or “fault” grounds.
  • North Dakota uses the terms, “plaintiff” to refer to the spouse who initially filed the divorce papers and “defendant” for the other spouse.
  • In North Dakota, divorce papers are filed in the District Court.
  • In some cases, alimony is available.
  • In North Dakota property distribution will be based upon what’s “equitable” (i.e. fair) and child support will be based upon the Percentage of Income Formula.

What You Need to Know About Divorce in North Dakota

  • Cooperate and collaborate with your spouse, your spouse’s divorce attorney, and your attorney. Cooperation and collaboration will keep your legal fees down.

  • Hire a divorce lawyer who will cooperate and collaborate with spouse’s attorney to get you more of what you want, keep fees down, and reduce stress.

  • Know that you absolutely will have to compromise. In divorce, no spouse gets all of what he or she wants. No worries; your spouse will have to compromise too. Mental preparation and providing requested information will keep your legal fees down.

  • You’ll benefit from investing in a therapist to help you deal with the pain and changes that divorce brings. Being able to stay grounded when dealing with your spouse and divorce issues will keep your legal fees down.

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a North Dakota Divorce Lawyer?


You may think that by avoiding legal fees, you’ll be saving money. This is likely not true. In fact, trying to be a do-it-yourselfer will likely cost you much more.

What will a mistake cost you? What if you make 2 mistakes? What if you give up your marital rights? What if the divorce drags on and on?

Will mistakes cost you tens of thousands of dollars? More? Will it cost you your house? What about time with your children? What about your retirement funds?

How to Find and Select a North Dakota Divorce Attorney

Google has made it easy to find a lawyer. Just enter “How to Find a North Dakota Divorce Attorney” into your search engine. You can also ask for referrals from loved ones, if you’re okay with making your marriage issues public.

Once you’ve found several North Dakota attorneys, who focus their practice on family law and divorce law, then narrow down your list.

  • Always ask whatever questions you have about fees, the process, what to expect, communications, and timing.
  • Is the attorney willing to show you how to keep your legal fees to a minimum?
  • Ask how the attorneys approach the process. Are they willing to work cooperatively? Or will they instigate fighting and push you into court?
  • Select the attorney with whom you are most comfortable.

How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney

When you’re getting ready to work with your divorce lawyer, these tips will get you started on the right track, saving you money, time, effort, and stress.

  • Determine whether reconciliation efforts have been exhausted.
  • Consult with a therapist or psychologist, who specializes in helping people going through divorce.
  • Make a list of questions and concerns to address with your divorce attorney; and, collect any information that your attorney has requested or suggested may be helpful such as a list of expenses, income, liabilities, and assets.
  • Make a “wish list” (e.g. finances, living arrangements, and child related matters) and indicate those items that are your top priorities in the divorce and those items that aren’t as important and can be compromised.
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