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Divorce and Domestic Violence in North Dakota

North Dakota defines ‘domestic violence’ as threats of assault, physical violence, sexual assault, and emotional abuse by a family member. These are very dark realities for many families, but there are ways that courts, counselors, and attorneys can help victims navigate divorce and domestic violence.

At Gjesdahl Law, we prioritize the needs of our clients in sensitive cases involving domestic violence victims and those accused of such violence. We will help you prepare all necessary documentation, appear at all hearings, and guide you through the unfamiliar, but necessary, process.

Before contacting our offices, please take some time to read through our Initial Contact Questions.

Child Custody Decisions

Child custody in North Dakota is determined by the courts whose sole intent is to place children in a safe, stable environment. In divorce cases involving domestic violence, courts will take any proveable incidents into account, in addition to several other factors, in order to make the best decision for the child. If prior domestic violence involves the use of a weapon, serious bodily injury, or a pattern of multiple recent events, the court may not award the perpetrator physical custody (i.e., residential responsibility) or unsupervised parenting time, absent an elevated level of proof the kids will be safe.

Seeking Protection Orders

North Dakota’s civil courts will grant a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) If you or your child need protection from an emotionally, physically, or verbally abusive partner. Likewise, they will grant a Disorderly Conduct Restraining Order against a harasser or stalker. Filing for protection orders in North Dakota is free for victims of domestic violence. If a judge determines that domestic violence, stalking, or harassing has, indeed, happened in the recent past and will likely occur in the future, protective relief will be granted. When someone is criminally charged with domestic violence, a No Contact Order (NCO) will accompany his terms of pretrial release.


Can a parent who committed domestic violence acts against me get residential responsibility?

Yes, but only if the domestic violence is minor, was mutual, or took place long ago. When more severe, recent, and one-sided domestic violence is involved, it is highly unlikely the perpetrator would be awarded custody. In addition, the children’s safety will be a high priority when the court shapes that person’s parenting time. In some cases, that time will be required to take place under supervision.

Considering Divorce?

We’re here for you. At Gjesdahl Law, we focus on providing our clients with all the resources and guidance they need to transition into their post-divorce life. We work with individuals and families throughout North Dakota, offering legal representation in court and professional mediation situations. Schedule a consultation with our attorneys to discuss your options.

 (701) 237-3009