North Dakota Divorce Steps

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North Dakota is the state in the United States having native-Indian influences on its culture and tradition. It has its own legal system that operates in the cases of divorce according to the federal recommendations and state laws. This state requires an applicant of divorce case to be a resident for at least half of the year.

Generally, divorce is a lengthy procedure if it a contested one. If both the partners agree on the terms of separation, the case can be converted into an uncontested divorce. For any kind of divorce, legal paperwork and submission of divorce forms are two necessary things. It is essential to know about these requirements before filing as that will avoid unnecessary mistakes.

North Dakota Divorce Steps regarding filing and service

  • The first divorce step is to meet the court clerk in the courthouse and obtain the necessary divorce documents, fill them and file them by self
  • If the Petitioner has a lawyer, then, the Petitioner can hand over the responsibility of filing to the lawyer
  • In case the Petitioner can not afford a lawyer, the Petitioner can seek low cost representation from organizations that offer legal representation at a low cost or no cost
  • The next step is to serve the divorce papers to the Respondent
  • It is not mandatory that the Petitioner must serve the divorce documents personally
  • The Petitioner must contact the local Sheriff's office and inquire how to serve the Respondent
  • It has been observed that in several cases, the Sheriff's department takes up the responsibility of the service
  • Another method is that a private process server or a constable serves the documents
  • If the Respondent has been abusive to the Petitioner in the past, the Petitioner must not serve the documents personally
  • It is important to obtain a receipt of such service from the respondent as it can be presented as an evidence in the court

North Dakota Divorce Steps regarding the Answer

  • The court allocates the Respondent twenty days from the date of service to file an Answer
  • If the Respondent fails to answer within the twenty days, the court considers the case as a default judgment. The court offers the Petitioner all that the Petitioner has demanded in the Petition
  • Another outcome is that the Respondent files an Answer and agrees with all the points mentioned in the Petition. The court regards this as an uncontested divorce. In this case, also, the court gives the Petitioner all that he or she has requested in the Petition
  • A third outcome is that the Respondent files an Answer and disagrees with some of the points in the Petition. This is an example of a contested divorce

Divorce Steps of a contested divorce

  • The divorcing partners share one another's information during a process known as Discovery. At this stage, partners are expected to provide true and all relevant information about the assets and liabilities owned by them. If any of the partner tried to hide any relevant data, the court can award the ownership of such suppressed property to the opposite party
  • The partners attempt to reach a consensus regarding the divorce issues without approaching the court. There are various methods for counseling such mediation or collaborative process where the discussion between partners is encouraged
  • Such a consensus is drafted in written form and is called as an agreement
  • This agreement is presented to the judge
  • The judge schedules an informal hearing to ascertain that the divorcing partners have understood the agreement
  • In case, the judge endorses the agreement, the judge might issue a divorce decree
  • If the partners fail to reach an agreement, they approach the court and undergo a trial
  • During the trial, the partners furnish evidence and argue for their aims
  • The judge oversees the trial and after considering all the evidence and hearing all the testimonies, finalizes the divorce and issues a divorce decree
  • During a trial, the partners usually feel the need of a lawyer. A lawyer uses his or her experience and knowledge in order to achieve the favorable terms of divorce for a client. Though hiring a lawyer can be expensive, many people prefer it as the lawyers can make strong and error-free presentation in the court

The divorce decree is a document that declares that the married partners are legally divorced. After such final order, partners are allowed to re-marry if they wish so. Every provision in the divorce decree will come into effect after the issue of divorce decree to the partners.

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