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Providing Answers To Your Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

These are some of the questions I hear the most from my clients and my responses to them:

Child Custody Concerns

Can I get sole custody of my children?

Ultimately, it depends on your situation. However, in many cases, both parents are entitled to time with the child and can make life decisions. In rare circumstances, the family courts may award one parent sole residential responsibility (sole physical custody) and sole decision-making responsibility (sole legal custody) of the children. However, the court’s goal in any family law matter is to ensure both parents are involved in their children’s lives.

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 having reasonable parenting time.

Does my child get to choose which parent they live 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 child’s best interests.” While your child’s opinion may be considered, it is not the only factor the court will consider. The older and more mature the child, the more likely their preference will be considered 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 your income and who pays health insurance for the child. If your co-parent makes less money, 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 refuses to allow you to see your child.

If your child has a stepparent willing to take on your parental responsibilities, then the court would allow an adoption (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).

Rarely will the court 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, I can discuss these issues with you and provide you with options for a potential resolution.

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. I typically recommend that parents not disparage each other in front of their children because it can hurt them. I also typically recommend against posting anything inflammatory or emotionally volatile on Facebook or other social media platforms.

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 considers 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 considered when dividing your property and rarely affect the distribution of property.

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

Reach Out To Start On Your Case Today

If you have more questions you’d like answered that you don’t see on this FAQ page, you can set up an initial consultation with my Fargo-based office today. Call 701-297-2298 or go to my contact page to get started.