Divorce FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions related to divorce that our attorney answers for clients in Fargo and the surrounding areas on a regular basis:

Child Custody Concerns:

Can I get sole custody of my child(ren)?

Ultimately, it depends on your situation. However, in most every case, both parents are entitled to time with the child and the ability to make decisions that affect his/her life. In rare circumstances, the Court may award one parent sole residential responsibility (sole physical custody) and sole decision-making responsibility (sole legal custody) of the child. However, the Court's goal in any family law matter is to assure both parents are involved with and have access to their child.

The more common scenario is joint decision-making responsibility (joint legal custody) with one parent having primary residential responsibility (sole physical custody) and the other parent having reasonable parenting time.

Does my child get to choose which parent he or she lives with?

Generally speaking, no. There is no magic age at which your child's opinion is considered in deciding which parent has residential responsibility. These decisions are always made "in the best interests of the child." While your child's opinion may be considered, it is not the only factor that the Court will consider. The older and more mature the child, the more likely their preference will be taken into consideration and given greater weight.

If my ex and I share joint residential responsibility (joint physical custody), do I have to pay child support?

That will depend on each of your incomes and who pays health insurance for the child. If your co-parent makes less money than you do, you may have to pay child support.

Can I terminate my parental rights so I don't have to pay child support?

No, even if your co-parent is refusing to allow you to see your child.

If your child has a stepparent who is willing to take on your parental responsibilities, then the Court would allow an adoption to be made (wherein your parental rights and responsibilities would be transferred to the child's stepparent and you would no longer be obligated to pay child support).

It is very rare that the Court will simply terminate one parent's rights and responsibilities, and leave the other parent to provide for the child without any assistance from the other parent.

If you are having problems with your co-parent, Brazil Law Office, PLLC can discuss these issues with you and provide you with the possible options for resolution you may have.

My ex keeps saying bad things about me in front of our children. Can I put a stop to that?

It is incredibly difficult to prove that your co-parent is disparaging you, unless it's in writing. It's also very hard to find anyone in contempt of court for disparaging the other parent. We strongly recommend that parents don't disparage each other in front of their children because it's emotionally damaging to the children. We also recommend against posting anything inflammatory or potentially volatile on Facebook or other social media.

Property Division:

How do we figure out who gets what?

Property division in North Dakota is based on equitable distribution and all property, including things you owned before the marriage, and inheritances received during the marriage, is considered marital property.

Property division in Minnesota takes into consideration pre-marital property, which is generally removed from the marital estate.

What if my spouse cheated on me or abused me?

North Dakota and Minnesota are both no-fault divorce states so those issues may not be taken into account when dividing your property and rarely have an effect on the distribution of property.

*This information is not meant to be construed as legal advice. Brazil Law Office, PLLC cannot advise you until an Attorney-Client relationship has been established.