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How does spousal fault affect a North Dakota divorce?

North Dakota, like most states, allows a person to seek a divorce without proving that the other spouse was in any way at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Such divorces are usually called "no fault" divorces, and they are based on a showing that the couple has irreconcilable differences that warrant a divorce.

North Dakota also has six other classes of divorce that may affect the award of spousal alimony. The six classes are adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect, abuse of alcohol or controlled substances, and conviction of a felony.

Proof of "irreconcilable differences" is very easy, and someone considering a divorce may wonder whether alleging one or more of these causes is worthwhile. In most cases, the divorce will be granted unless the person alleging spousal fault has done so for purely vindictive reasons. However, spousal support may be affected by proof of one or more acts of spousal fault. Spousal support may be reduced or withheld for a spouse that has committed adultery. If the court sees fit to order payment of alimony by the spouse who has committed an act of marital fault, the amount may be increased as a punishment for the proscribed act.

Anyone who is considering a divorce and believes that the other spouse has committed one or more of the enumerated kinds of spousal fault may wish to consult an experienced divorce attorney for advice. A knowledgeable lawyer can explain how fault is proved and whether the acts in question are likely to affect the judge's view of the case.

Source: legis.nd.gov, "Chapter 14-05 Divorce," accessed on March 11, 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.
  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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