How to Obtain a Legal Separation in North Dakota?
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The state of North Dakota recognizes documentation for legal separation and has the provisions and directions regarding the same in the statute. Many couples in North Dakota opt for legal separation now-a-days, as it is a flexible option as compared to divorce. The legal separation in North Dakota can either be temporary or permanent. The process of granting the legal separation is similar to the process and divorce. The petitioner has to cite the grounds on which he / she wants to seek separation from their spouse.
However, before granting the legal separation, the court gives directions regarding the marital issues of the couple such as financial matters, child care, health care etc. The couple has to sign a legal separation agreement that is to be submitted to the court and is legally binding for both the parties.
Grounds for Legal Separation in North Dakota:
As mentioned earlier, the process of legal separation in North Dakota is similar to the process of divorce which means that the petitioner has to cite the grounds for legal separation. These grounds are specified by the statute. These grounds are as follows:
Legal Separation Agreement in North Dakota:
- Adultery – Romantic liaisons, one night stands, flings, sleeping around with multiple partners outside the marriage, pregnancy out of the marriage or any other form of cheating on one's partner is considered as adultery. It is one of the strong grounds for legal separation in the state of North Dakota.
- Extreme Cruelty – Regular physical abuse, mental torture, sexual abuse, cursing, hitting, bashing one's spouse constitutes extreme cruelty. In these cases, the court usually grants a restriction order against the abusive partner and grants the separation immediately.
- Willful Desertion – If either of the spouses leave the other spouse with no address or any other means to contact for a period of one year, it is termed as willful desertion and the separation is granted. Not knowing the whereabouts of one's partner constitutes the willful desertion.
- Neglect – If either of the partner neglects the household duties towards the family, children household chores and expenses and fails to provide for the family, it is termed as neglect. If this continues for one year, the court can grant the separation.
- Habitual Substance Abuse – When either of the spouses has a habit of drugs, alcohol or other medications, such a habit is considered as substance abuse. Such a person is usually unable to provide or meet the wants of the family and take care of his / her family and children. In such cases, the court grants the separation immediately.
- Conviction of Felony – If one of the partners is convicted of felony such as monetary fraud or other felony charges, he / she are bound to go to prison. If this imprisonment continues for a period of one year, the aggrieved spouse can file for a legal separation in North Dakota.
- Insanity – If either of the partners is suffering from a mental disorder or insanity for a period of five years or more and the doctors have stated that the ailment is long lasting, the aggrieved partner can file for legal separation, which will be granted on the grounds of insanity or mental incapacitation.
- Irreconcilable Differences – As North Dakota is a no-fault divorce state, the couple can just state that their marriage has had an irretrievable breakdown and there are no chances of them living together due to the same. The court grants the separation in such cases with much ease than the other grounds.
Just like the other states, the legal separation agreement in North Dakota deals with the settlement of the following issues:
Legal separation in North Dakota is an easy way to sort the marital issues calmly and then think about the effects of divorce and whether one should go ahead with it or reconcile with their partner.
- Child Custody – The decision regarding the child custody is generally made by the parents and children together. However, if parents are not on the amicable terms with each other, the court has to intervene in this case and make the arrangements. This decision is made by taking into consideration the best interests of the child. The rapport of the child with both the parents, the parents' capacity to earn and to provide for the basic needs of the child, the child's home, school and neighborhood records, age and physical health of the parents etc. all things are considered before determining the custody of the child.
- Child Support – The amount of child support is determined by calculating the cost of the child's basic needs such as education, health care, and other mandatory expenses related to school as well as extra curricular activities. Both the parents' income and earning capacity are taken into consideration while calculating this amount. The court decides a flat percentage of the non-custodial parent's income as the amount to be paid for child support until the child reaches the age of 18 or until he / she finishes the high school.
- Alimony – Whether the spouse needs an alimony is determined by the court after examining the lifestyle, standard of life, income, responsibilities and other factors which determine the spending pattern and the needs of the dependent partner. The spouses can mutually reach this agreement, which is a difficult task , but can achieved with the help of an attorney.
- Parenting Plan – The parents are supposed to design a parenting plan that lists all the holidays to be spent with the non-custodial parent along with the school breaks, vacations and holidays. The parents can take the child for alternate years and during special days such as birthdays or mother and father days are to be celebrated with the respective parent. This along with the timing and the arrangement for transportation has to be mentioned in the parenting plan.