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Fargo Family Law Blog

Establishing paternity in North Dakota

Married and unmarried couples may operate in much the same ways. However, certain legal procedures are different for married couples than for unmarried couples -for example, establishing paternity. In a marriage, the husband is legally presumed to be the father of any children born during the marriage. For unmarried couples, that legal presumption does not exist, therefore paternity will need to be established according to state law.

The issue of paternity often arises when a mother seeks child support from the child's biological father. For unmarried couples, it will need to be established that he is in fact the child's biological father before a court will grant child support. In North Dakota, there are two main ways to prove that a child's biological father is also the child's legal father.

The transforming legal landscape for gay and lesbian adoption

The Human Rights Campaign has designated June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer Pride Month. The recent increase of gay and lesbian biological parents has, in part, led to more open consideration of gay and lesbian men and women as adoptive parents. The laws in most states - like North Dakota- do not explicitly prohibit gay and lesbian adoption, however, some courts have expressed concerns about the welfare of children raised in lesbian or gay households.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, there are six to 14 million children in the United States living with at least one gay parent. While over 20 states have granted second-parent adoptions to gay and lesbian couples, a few states have laws expressly banning gays and lesbians from adopting children.

Custody: Do you have your children's best interests in mind?

When going through divorce as a parent, you naturally want your children to suffer as few negative impacts as possible. Because each case has its own unique conditions, the manner in which you look out for your children may differ from other families. Nonetheless, when it comes to creating a viable child custody agreement, you may want to minimize conflict as best as possible while also ensuring that your children's best interests remain at the forefront.

Though many individuals maintain that the best interests of the children play the most important role in custody decisions, you may not fully understand what that phrase entails. You may have an idea of what terms will work best for your kids, but if the court must have a say in the arrangements, you may wonder what the court will consider.

Resources for child support enforcement and assistance

Raising a child is an expensive proposition. The cost of food, healthcare, daycare/education and other daily expenses is legally viewed as a shared responsibility between both parents. When a court orders a non-custodial parent to pay child support and they attempt to evade this responsibility, it can not only be a stressful ordeal for the custodial parent but it can also have negative consequences for the children who no longer have the support they need.

Fortunately, the Federal and State Parent Locator Services provide state and federal assistance to parents attempting to locate child support obligors. When a custodial parent cannot locate the parent who owes child support, federal and state governments work together and combine resources to ensure they are found and support is paid.

3 common signs that your spouse is hiding assets in your divorce

The months leading up to the decision to file for a divorce can be one of the most traumatic times in a person’s life. Weighing the costs and benefits of ending a marriage can be extremely stressful, and leave you no closer to knowing which way you want to go.

Most divorces do not come out of nowhere. You and your spouse probably know you are having problems. If you are thinking about moving on, your partner probably is as well. This is an important time, and you need to make the most of it so that you are prepared for what is about to happen to you.

Adultery may lead to spousal support in North Dakota divorce

Having an extramarital affair can be devastating to a relationship and often leads to divorce. While all states allow for no-fault divorce, North Dakota is one of the few states that recognize fault-based divorce. Adultery is grounds for fault-based divorce and may also be grounds for spousal support.

In a no-fault divorce the spouse that files for divorce does not need to prove that the other spouse did anything wrong. They must simply just state a reason for the divorce, most commonly irreconcilable differences.

Child custody is yours to lose

A positive trend in divorce courts allows fathers and mothers the same consideration for parenting time. Many state laws begin with the assumption that both parents are equally fit and that, if safe to do so, custody should be awarded as equitably as possible. Studies show that time with both parents benefits children, and custody courts work for the best interests of the child.

This is why parenting advocates recommend that you be on your best behavior during your divorce. If a judge sees anything in your actions or habits that indicates you are unfit to care for your children, your parenting time may be at risk.

Virtual visitation: a modern visitation option

Going through a divorce can be a stressful experience for the adults involved. Children of divorcing couples face their own challenges, especially in the case where a parent decides to relocate.

Thanks to modern technology, virtual visitation may be an option for parents who wish to relocate far away while still allowing for parenting time between the child and the non-custodial parent.

Divorce secretes hidden from soon-to-be ex-spouses

If you are separating from your spouse after several years of marriage, you may wonder if he or she has some secrets tucked away that could affect your bottom line financially. According to several divorce attorneys, almost every couple does, but some, are far worse secrets than others are. Here are a few of the most extreme secrets that came to light during divorce or long afterwards:

-- Lots of hidden property: One man hid an expensive ocean-front penthouse and an offshore oil rig in his divorce. Twenty years later, the very ex-wife discovered the properties after the man died and left the properties to their sons. A quick property history made it easy to determine that the properties were held during the marriage.

Baby boomer divorce rates have doubled since 1990

The U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) have released data showing that the "gray divorce" trend is quite real. According to their numbers, in 2015, for every 1,000 married people age 50 and up, 10 divorced. In 1990, that number was just five. For those that are 65 and older, the data shows the divorce rate tripling to six out of 1,000 married individuals.

For married people who are 40 to 49, the divorce rate per 1,000 people is 21 or about twice as high as it is for those who are 50 years old and older. In 1990, the rate was 18, showing a small increase. For younger married individuals ages 25 to 39, the divorce rate dropped in 2015 from 30 in 1990 to 24.

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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