The answers to your questions may be dependent upon the specific facts of your case. In order to receive proper advice a complete review of your situation would be appropriate. The information provided is generic in nature and may not be relevant to your particular situation. If you have specific questions please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Unless otherwise stated, these answers relate to North Dakota cases.
My divorce is done. Can any of it be changed?
Answer: Once a divorce is final, there is a period of time where the judgment might be appealed. There are also rules about getting a new trial or making changes based upon mistake, errors, or fraud etc. You may need to talk to an attorney about those things, but do it quickly.
There are certain areas of your divorce judgment that are subject to modification. Custody, the parenting schedule, child support and issues relating to the children are modifiable. Spousal support, if spousal support was ordered or reserved by the court, may also be changed.
Some elements of your divorce judgment are easier to modify than others. There may also be some time prohibitions against modification. Our office does handle modifications of the above matters regularly. If you have questions regarding your specific situation please contact our office for an appointment.
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My ex-spouse is not following our judgment. Can I do anything about it?
Answer: A judgment is a legal document that the court will usually enforce. Your judgment awards you certain entitlements. In the event either party does not comply with the terms of this judicial Order, he or she may be held in contempt of court. There are also other enforcement tools available. If the other party will not turn over property that you have been awarded, or fails otherwise to comply with your decree, please contact my office as soon as possible.
Sometimes a reminder letter from a lawyer is useful. If that does not resolve things, we may need to file an application to hold your ex-spouse in contempt of court. If we are able to show that the order has not been complied with and that the non-compliance is willful and known to your ex-spouse it is possible to be awarded costs of enforcing the judgment.
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My child lives with me. Can I move outside of ND?
Answer: In accordance with the provisions of NDCC 14-09-07:
A parent with primary residential responsibility for a child may not change the primary residence of the child to another state except upon order of the court or with the consent of the other parent, if the other parent has been given parenting time by the decree. A parent with equal residential responsibility for a child may not change the residence of the child to another state except with consent of the other parent or order of the court allowing the move and awarding that parent primary residential responsibility. A court order is not required if the other parent (a) has not exercised parenting time for a period of one year; or (b) has moved to another state and is more than fifty miles [80.47 kilometers] from the residence of the parent with primary residential responsibility.
If court permission is required a motion will generally need to be filed. The filing of a motion is somewhat complicated and difficult for a client to do without representation. Moves are generally approved if there is a valid reason for the move which improves the residential parent’s circumstances. It also must be shown that the move is not done in an attempt to frustrate the non-residential parent’s rights to spend time with the child. You often will need to be accommodating with transportation and you should consider being open to modifying the parenting schedule if the move is a significant distance from the other parent.
Sometimes these requests are met with a counter motion for change of primary residence. In order to be adequately advised about the risks and benefits of such a motion you should contact our office to schedule an appointment time. Complete discussion of the facts of the situation is imperative for this type of motion.
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At what age does my child have the ability to choose which parent they live with?
Answer: There is no magic age. Parents usually make decisions for their children such as where they live, where they go to school and how they are raised. Once children become of a sufficient age to have an opinion, it is usually up to their parents to consider their children's wishes. If a court is required to decide where children will reside, a court will consider the preference of a child if the child seems old enough to express the preference, the preference is well-reasoned and in the best interests of the child. This preference is one of many factors the court must consider. The consideration of this factor may or may not govern the court’s decision.
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An experienced attorney can provide you with the best information about this issue.