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Fargo Family Law Blog

Who can legally petition for adoption in North Dakota?

The state of North Dakota is very adoption friendly, for the most part. However, to ensure that an adoption goes as smoothly as possible, there are a few eligibility rules to know about.

The first group of people who may petition a court for adoption are a husband and wife, together. Even if one or both spouses are minors, the court will allow the petition to be filed as long as they are legally married. The second group are unmarried adults. In other words, the state of North Dakota will recognize a single parent home as a viable option for a child who needs a permanent home. Third, an unmarried father or mother of a person to be adopted. For example, where two parties live together but are not married, one may file to adopt a child without the consent of the other.

Some tips to survive divorce

The end of a marriage can feel almost apocalyptic. Life becomes fractured. It seems as if nothing has a place, and you are not even sure which way to turn or where to begin. When children are involved, things can be especially stressful. Shielding them from pain while trying to hold yourself together becomes almost to much to bare at times. However, there is good news. There are ways to survive the turmoil, and come out on the other side healthy and ready to start rebuilding. Here are some helpful tips.

First, know that you do not have to do it alone. Lean on family members, friends, and even your divorce attorney. An attorney may easily become one of your best friends throughout the process. It feels good to know that someone is unequivocally on your side and can offer expert guidance when you have no idea what to do. Sometimes, having someone to take you by the hand and lead you through step-by-step is the best thing that can ever happen. As far as friends and family, let them help! There is no shame in having someone clean your house or cook a meal when life just gets to be too much.

Why your divorce doesn't have to end up in court

Are you facing the prospect of divorce? Do you dread the thought of heading to court and battling it out in front of a North Dakota judge and others in the courtroom? Thankfully, there are other options available to you. Divorce doesn't have to be contentious or litigious, even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse do not see eye to eye on everything. 

There are reasonable ways that you and the other parent can resolve remaining divorce disputes without ever stepping foot inside the courtroom. One way you can do this is through collaborative divorce. Collaboration is a process of addressing remaining disputes and resolving them in a way that is beneficial and reasonable for both parties. A collaborative divorce could be the right answer for your individual situation.

Co-parenting for parents who don't get along

When two parents go through a divorce, it is often most difficult on the youngest members of the family. Children can experience emotional duress and mental stress when their parents separate, and it's wise for you to consider ways that you can make this time easier for your kids. One way many North Dakota families do this is by co-parenting.

Co-parenting is not easy, and you may assume that this won't work for you because you and the other parent don't get along. Fortunately, there are ways that you can make this type of custody arrangement work well, regardless of how you feel about your ex. An important factor in your success is to know what to expect from co-parenting and to remain committed to the best interests of your children above everything else. 

Who can I call for help with an international abduction?

An international child abduction is a very serious and complex matter that requires expert representation and counsel. First, we must understand that these abductions take place into and out of every country, and not just the United States alone. They may take place both to and from the U.S.

A treaty known as The Hague Abduction Convention was formed among 76 countries for the purpose of creating one central authority in each country to help address these matters. This allows countries to work together in a fluid and seamless manner to facilitate the location and return of a child. The Hague Abduction Convention creates a centralized point of communication for government authorities, parents, and legal counsel. It is worth noting that through this agreement countries cannot interfere with court orders from another country.

Protect business assets with a prenuptial agreement

Any small business owner who is planning on getting married can benefit from the protections offered by a prenuptial agreement. In the event of a divorce, a small business can become financially unstable, if not damaged to the point of closure. We can safely assume that no one gets married with a plan to get divorced in a few years. Therefore, it is not uncommon for asset protection to be overlooked in the throes of the wedding day countdown.

North Dakota is not a community property state. This means that pre-marital assets will not be equitably divided between the parties Instead, each party will remain in possession of what was owned prior to the marriage. However, there are other factors such as economic misconduct that could come into play. If the spouse who owned the business acted in a financially irresponsible manner that caused the marital assets to be depleted or significantly reduced, then a judge could award compensation to the other spouse. This, in turn, could significantly hurt the business. Also, if the non-owner spouse can show that he or she significantly contributed to the business, then a judge may find that he or she is due part of the asset.

Addressing conflict resolution in your parenting plan

One of the many concerns newly divorced parents have is how the co-parenting relationship will go. Regardless of each of your good intentions, the parents will more than likely end up disagreeing about something periodically.

How you and the other parent handle these conflicts could have lasting effects on your co-parenting relationship. If this is a concern of yours, it may help to address conflict resolution in your parenting plan.

Considering parental relocation in custody agreement negotiations

When working through a painful divorce, it is always easiest to only consider what is in the foreseeable future. Parties involved in custody negotiations are usually searching for the quickest means of settlement in order to allow everyone to move on and begin the healing process. However, failing to consider potential issues that may arise further down the road, such as parental relocation, can become major issues that affect the entire family all over again.

If one parent believes there is even a remote chance of relocation in the near or distant future, it would benefit all involved for him or her to speak up during initial custody discussion. There are several reasons why taking such action may be necessary. First, arranging travel for a minor child who needs to be accompanied is no small task. Parents must not only be able to effectively communicate and work together but must also maintain communication with airlines and flight personnel to ensure the child's safety. The TSA has strict rules regarding unaccompanied minor travels.

North Dakota grandparents can be awarded visitation rights

Even with sky high divorce rates across the country, grandparents' rights are often overlooked and frequently are not taken into consideration within custody negotiations. The same lack of attention may be prevalent in a situation where one parent dies, and the remaining parent refuses contact between the child and his or her grandparents. While the state of North Dakota has laws in place to prevent grandparents from being alienated from grandchildren, the decision is not made on grandparents' wishes alone. There are other factors a court must take into consideration when determining whether grandparent visitation is appropriate.

For example, the court will take a close look at the past personal contact between the grandparents and the child to determine whether it is positive relationship. The same will be considered regarding the relationship between the child's parents and the grandparents. North Dakota family courts must presume that a child's parent is considering the child's best interests when making visitation allowances or disallowances. If grandparents disagree with that decision, then the burden of proof falls on them to show that visitation should be allowed and would be beneficial to the child.

Preparing for an adoption home study

You have longed for children, but something has prevented you from having any of your own. You have likely given thoughtful consideration to the possibility of welcoming a child through adoption. Adoption allows you to provide a loving home for a child while filling your own heart with joy.

The adoption process is necessarily complicated. It is essential that adoption agencies carefully screen applicants to avoid placing a child in a home where he or she would suffer harm. While your reason tells you this is not personal, it may feel very personal when adoption agents schedule a visit—or series of visits—to your home. Knowing what to expect may alleviate some of the stress these visits can bring.

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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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