North Dakota Divorce Attorneys
Offices in Minot and Grand Forks
At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., our lawyers have built an outstanding reputation for attaining favorable results in complex family matters. Because these cases are often stressful for the entire family, our legal team takes a compassionate approach, handling these sensitive matters with care, confidentiality, and sensitivity. With more than 100 years of experience, our divorce attorneys are ready to support you every step of the way, protecting your best interests during these life-changing events.
Our family law practice includes the following case types:
- Legal separation or divorce matters
- Child support, custody, and visitation rights
- Grandparent rights, including custody and visitation
- Spousal maintenance and support (alimony)
- Adoption matters
- Guardianship cases
- Name changes
- Mediation and alternative dispute resolution
- Pre and postnuptial agreements
What Are the Steps of a Divorce—and How Long Will It Take?
Before filing for divorce in North Dakota, you must be a ND resident for at least 6 months. Because every divorce proceeding is unique, we will need information about your circumstances to better determine an accurate timeline for your proceeding. Uncontested divorces (where both spouses agree on all issues) are typically the fastest, often taking 30-90 days. If you have children or significant assets, however, the process will likely take longer. If you and your spouse disagree on a variety of issues, you may need to take your divorce to court if you aren’t able to come to a resolution through mediation. This will be the most expensive and time-consuming path.
Generally, a divorce in North Dakota will follow these basic steps:
- Determine grounds (legally acceptable reasons) for divorce. If you are filing a no-fault divorce (neither spouse is to blame), you must demonstrate irreconcilable differences. In a fault divorce, possible grounds for divorce include adultery, abuse/extreme cruelty, willful neglect or desertion, abuse of alcohol or controlled substances, and a felony conviction.
- File the petition. You can choose from three main petitions to file for divorce in North Dakota: Uncontested Divorce – No Children, Uncontested Divorce – With Children, and Summary Divorce – With or Without Children. If none of these fit your circumstances, you may need to draft your own legal document. Our divorce attorneys will help you determine if this is necessary and either guide you through the process or file it on your behalf.
- Service of process and answer. Service of process refers to notifying your spouse that you have filed for divorce. They will be able to choose between agreeing to your terms or contesting them in court. You can serve your spouse yourself, or one of our lawyers can serve them on your behalf. If your spouse is abusive, do not take the risk of serving them yourself. In a contested divorce, the spouse who is served has 21 days to serve a written answer. If they fail to respond in this time frame, you can ask the court for a default judgment.
- Property division and spousal/child support. In what is referred to as “discovery,” both spouses share information about their assets, debts, income, and more. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding asset division and alimony either on your own or in mediation, you will need to go to trial. Once you arrive at a resolution, a judge will issue a divorce decree, which is the document declaring your legal divorce and outlining the division of property and other terms.
To better understand how long your proceeding will take, get in touch with our divorce lawyers. We will gather information about your unique circumstances to help you draft a timeline and anticipate potential obstacles.
What Is the Difference Between Divorce and Annulment?
Many believe divorce and annulment are interchangeable terms. While both end marriage, annulment goes a step further and declares the marriage invalid from the beginning. Even if you and your spouse agree to the terms, you will need to go to court to obtain an annulment.
To qualify for an annulment in North Dakota, you must prove you and/or your spouse:
- Were underage at the time of the ceremony
- Have additional marriages (bigamy/polygamy)
- Were/are mentally/physically incapable of consenting to marriage or fulfilling marriage obligations
- Misrepresented your/their identity (fraud)
- Were coerced by threat or force into the marriage
- Are acknowledged relatives
Contact Our Divorce Lawyers Today
To learn more about your rights and options, call our experienced North Dakota divorce attorneys at Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. We have the knowledge and compassion to assist you and your family through even the most traumatic proceedings.