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Fargo Family Law Blog

What should you know about property division in a divorce?

North Dakota residents who are going through the turbulent time of the end of a marriage and are dealing with a divorce will understand the emotional and personal impact life changes will have. While children, custody and visitation will take precedence, financial matters cannot be ignored. Oftentimes, people will think of spousal support from the perspective of a paying former spouse and a receiving former spouse. Another issue that is financial and could have far-reaching ramifications is property division. Understanding what the law says about property division can help to understand and prepare for how it will affect the case. When there is a divorce, debts will also be divided.

When the couple is granted its divorce, there will be an equitable distribution between the parties. Some property is subject to federal law when there is division and that must be accounted for. The court will determine a date for valuation and this date must be just and equitable. This is the date in which the summons for the action of divorce or separation was made or the date when the couple had its last separation - whichever happened first.

The basics of parental relocation

After a North Dakota divorce, the living arrangements for the parent with residential responsibility of children from the marriage might change based on the circumstances. This can impact visitation plans and other issues that could cause a dispute between the parties. For parents who are either considering a parental relocation or are concerned about how it will affect their ability to see their children, understanding the basics of what the state law says about relocation is key. This will be imperative when trying to navigate the situation.

If a parent has been given primary residential custody and decides to relocate to a different state, there are two ways in which he or she can do so: they can have an agreement with the other parent if the other parent has parenting time; or they can seek an order to move from a district court in North Dakota. There will be no requirement to get such an order in the following circumstances: if the other parent has failed to exercise his or her right to parenting time for one year; or the other parent has left North Dakota and moved to another state that is more than 50 miles away from the residence of the parent who has primary residential custody.

Even an amicable divorce requires legal assistance

The initial reaction when the word "divorce" is mentioned in North Dakota is that the couple is in dispute over every single issue large and small and the situation has grown so contentious that the end of a marriage is the only viable alternative. While that does happen in many cases, some divorces are relatively amicable with negotiation possible to avoid a rancorous and time-consuming battle. Even if the parties are on relatively good terms, however, it is still advisable to have legal assistance to ensure all the agreements are on solid legal ground and there is documentation over important issues.

For many, the decision to divorce is a culmination of tensions and disagreements that can no longer be accepted. Perhaps people married in quick fashion and, once they became more familiar with one another, decided that they were not an ideal pairing. Goals can change. Or there is a simple explanation of growing apart. If they had not gotten married, they could simply end the relationship. When there is a legal marriage, it is important to move on with a divorce.

Tips for peaceful co-parenting during the holiday season

The holidays can be a time when emotions are running high and parents may find it difficult to navigate the season without disputes and conflict. If you co-parent or you are walking through divorce and plan to co-parent, it may be helpful to know how to deal with the stress and difficulties of the holiday season. With the right perspective, you can keep the peace and protect the well-being of your kids.

One of the main sources of conflict between co-parents is the division of parenting time during the busiest time of the year. From family dinners to school performances, there are many things going on and several events you probably want your child to attend. This can make it more likely that disputes will happen and hard feelings will arise.

Property division, retirement accounts impacted by court decision

In a divorce case in North Dakota, there are a litany of issues that will be of concern and in dispute. For those who have significant retirement assets, the high asset divorce process can be complex and worrisome for both the person who has the account and the other party. Both sides will want a fair share. Part of dealing with this is to keep track of court rulings regarding how the law deals with them. A recent decision makes it imperative to re-assess how retirement assets are handled.

When a person receives retirement assets as part of a divorce settlement, a later filing of bankruptcy can negatively impact the funds in the account. This can be problematic for the spouse who received it. In general, if the account is a 401(k), it will be shielded should there be a bankruptcy. In addition, the IRA is protected up to $1.3 million based on a capped amount that is adjusted based on inflation. This leads to some financial advisors mixing the funds with other assets the clients might have. With the recent ruling, however, that could be placed in jeopardy with a bankruptcy.

OneDrive gives you access to your legal docs when you want them

What do you want from a legal office? Obviously, you would want a competent staff and an attorney who is good in his her or her field, but what else do you want? Have you thought about accessibility to any documents you are having or have had prepared for you? If you have not, you should.

Here is the thing: many law firms in North Dakota and across the country are only willing to work with clients face to face. They limit their accessibility to regular working hours and only allow clients to access documents upon request and give them out in person. Does that make sense in a digital world?

When should you consider collaboration for your divorce?

North Dakota readers know divorce is a difficult process, and you may be dreading the thought of walking through a traditional divorce. In some cases, there are other legal options available for those who do not want to go to court and battle over the terms of their divorce order. If you want something different for your divorce, collaboration may be the right option for you. 

Collaboration is an alternative to litigation that will still allow you to resolve your divorce disputes without going through divorce. As a dispute resolution method, you will be able to work through issues during the collaborative process and reach a final resolution that will be beneficial and sustainable for years to come. Before you make any important divorce-related decisions, you may consider the benefits of collaboration.

Can child support still be paid after the child reaches majority?

When there is a child support order in North Dakota, many parents will believe that the payments will continue until the child reaches what is known as "majority." However, that is not always the case. The child support guidelines allow for the payments to continue beyond age 18 - when the child has reached majority - if there are certain conditions in place. Even parents who have no negative perception about paying for a child's financial needs will look forward to the day when they are no longer required to do so. It is imperative to know when the payments can be extended beyond the age of majority.

The requirement for a supporting parent to pay child support will continue until the end of the month when the child has graduated from high school or reached age 19 - whichever occurs first. The following circumstances must be in place for this rule to be in effect: the child must be enrolled in and attending high school and be 18 before the date when he or she is expected to graduate and the child must still live with the person who is receiving the child support payments.

Tax laws will change divorce

The new federal tax law passed late last year will have a major impact on spousal and child support. Addressing these divorce changes to long-standing tax laws will have a major impact on divorce negotiations and litigation as a result.

The new law takes away the traditional personal and dependent exemptions. Claiming a head of household status will become important because the new tax law raises the standard deduction from $6,350 in 2017 to $12,000 in 2018; $9,350 to $18,000 for head of household filers and from $12,700 for married filing jointly filers to $24,000.

Do grandparents have any rights to visitation?

Parents are not the only adults that play an important role in a child's life-their teachers, aunts and uncles and grandparents shape a child's life in vital ways and their significance cannot be overlooked. But this is often precisely what happens when a divorce takes place-parents either share or split joint and legal custody, and the remainder of the family and friends often have to chose sides that affect how many times they can visit children, if at all.

Grandparent's rights are often sacrificed in a divorce, which means the essential bond they share with grandkids is broken at the time when children are going through a turbulent time and need someone other than their parents to confide in. in North Dakota, the right of grandchildren to visit their grandchildren is recognized.

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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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