Those who have heard dramatic stories from others about divorce often imagine that they will face the worst-case scenario if they choose to file or get served by a spouse. However, every divorce is inherently unique, as it is a reflection of someone’s marital circumstances.
Therefore, divorces in North Dakota can unfold very differently for people in specific situations. Still, it is possible to categorize divorce proceedings into three main types. The approach that spouses take when divorcing will have a major bearing on the final outcome and how much the process will cost.
Contested divorce litigation
For many adults, the word divorce immediately conjures thoughts of a litigated or contested divorce. Spouses who do not agree about sharing custody and dividing their property will go to court, and a judge will apply state law to their circumstances. Litigated divorces can be stressful and are often the most expensive divorces.
Spouses have the opportunity to work with each other to resolve disagreements about family issues. Some spouses have marital agreements that directly address the division of their property and the care of shared minor children. Other couples may work collaboratively through their lawyers or attend mediation so that they can pursue uncontested divorce proceedings. This approach is often beneficial for those who will still encounter each other socially or who share children, as it made minimize conflict and help them develop a better co-parenting dynamic.
Although they are less common, some divorces in North Dakota occur through the default of one spouse rather than through litigation or mutual agreement. When someone files the initial paperwork requesting a divorce, they have to serve that paperwork to their spouse. The documents that they submit to the courts and the other spouse will outline their desires regarding property division and other terms. Usually, the spouse served will respond to those suggestions and counter them.
However, sometimes people want to ignore those documents. They may struggle with depression or believe that they can prevent the divorce if they simply choose to stay uninvolved. If someone goes more than 21 days without responding, the person who filed the initial paperwork can submit additional documents to the courts asking for a default judgment. In a default divorce, the spouse who files the paperwork typically has control over the outcome of the process.
Understanding the general way that divorce occurs in North Dakota can help people prepare themselves for the process ahead of them and to make informed decisions about how they want to proceed.