North Dakota is a “no fault” state. Unlike in days gone by, to obtain a divorce, you don’t have to convince a judge that your spouse is an adulterer, or an alcoholic, or has abused you, or has abandoned the marriage. You just need to share “irreconcilable differences,” general reasons why you can’t stand to remain married any longer.
Consequently, a North Dakota divorce is not a legal fight about whether you or your spouse will be granted a divorce. No. It’s about everything else.
Instead, it’s about:
Your Children: Who will they live with? How much time will they spend with you? With your spouse? Who will make decisions about their medical care, their schooling, their activities? How does child support work? Who sets the monthly amount? How is that amount identified? How is it collected? Who pays for children’s medical insurance? Uninsured medical expenses? Daycare? Private school? Can a parent relocate, out of state, with the children?
Your Assets and Debts: Who will stay in the home, who will leave? Or will it need to be sold? How will your accounts—checking, saving, investment, retirement—be divided? Do you get to keep your premarital assets? What you inherited? Gifts? If you get half of the estate, how is “half” figured out? How much is half? What assets, what debts, make up your half? Does she get to keep all of her own retirement assets? If not, can they be divided without causing early withdrawal penalties? If you get the house, will you have to refinance the mortgage into your own name?
Closely Held Businesses: How are farm or business assets divided? How are businesses valued? How can a spouse be bought out when the business has cash flow limitations?
Your Standard of Living: What will your monthly budget look like after the divorce? Can you afford it and, if so, how? Is there still such a thing as “alimony”? If so, how is the amount figured out? How long does it last?
Taxes: Who gets to claim the kids as dependent exemptions? Who claims “Head of Household” status? In the year of divorce, do you file as “married” or “single”? Who will receive the mortgage interest deduction this year? Do we need to be concerned about capital gains?
Names: Can you use your maiden name again after the divorce? Should you? Can this be handled as part of the divorce?
Domestic Violence: If your spouse is physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive, what protection can a court give you? How can it protect your children?
Our attorneys help people answer these questions, and more. If you need help with divorce issues, give us a call or send us an email.