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Determining child support in a North Dakota divorce

One of the most difficult questions in a divorce in North Dakota is the determination of child support. The legislature has established general rules for determining child support, and the Department of Human Services has published detailed guidelines that specify the type of information that must be submitted by the divorcing parents. New guidelines became effective on January 1, 2018. These requirements are too numerous and too detailed for a blog post, but an overview may be helpful to those wondering about divorce and child support.

The legislature has directed the department of human services to establish child support guidelines to assist the courts in setting the amount that the paying parent must pay as support for minor children of the marriage. The legislative prescriptions are vague. For example, the department is directed to "authorize an expense deduction for determining net income" and "designate other available resources to be considered." These guidelines offer no concrete guidance to divorcing parents. Instead, a person wondering how child support is calculated in their specific case must consult the guidelines promulgated by the department of human services.

The department guidelines do not provide a textual guideline or rule; instead, the department has adopted a table that specifies the amount of support that must be paid each month, depending upon the paying parent's net monthly income and the number of children for whom support must be paid. For example, a person making $16,000 per month in net income must pay $3,403 per month for two children. A person making a net income of $21,000 per month must pay $4,574 per month for three children.

The determination of child support will vary from couple to couple, depending upon factors such as income, education, anticipated future income and the age of the children. A knowledgeable family law attorney can provide specific answers for specific situations.

Source: North Dakota Department of Human Services, "Child Support Guidelines (Effective January 1, 2018)," accessed on Jan. 14, 2018

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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.
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