Common Divorce Questions Part Two

Common Divorce Questions Part-Two

August 12, 2021

Going through a divorce can be hard. Most people don’t want to be in that situation. And most people have never experienced it before. The unknown of what is about to happen in a divorce often leads to stress and anxiety. This two-part blog (see part one), attempts to reduce some of that stress and anxiety by answering some of the more common questions asked at an initial consultation.

When reading these answers, please remember that family law matters are very fact-specific. While this blog is meant to provide you some general knowledge on each topic, please consult with an attorney regarding your specific situation.

We Got Married In Another State, Can We Get Divorced In North Dakota?

Yes. As long as the Plaintiff (the person filing for divorce) has lived in North Dakota for at least six months immediately prior to filing for divorce, you can get divorced in North Dakota regardless of where you were married. There are some other issues that can come into play, like: Has your spouse ever been to North Dakota before? Or where have your children been living for the six months leading up to the divorce action? Or, where is your property located? These are questions you will want to ask an attorney before starting a divorce action as they may also affect where the case should be filed, but generally, the state you were married in will not have any bearing on where you can get divorced.

What Assets Am I Entitled To In A Divorce?

It depends. The Court will analyze many things when making its determination on how a marital estate should be divided. In North Dakota, the factors the court considers are called the “Ruff-Fischer Guidelines,” and include: the respective ages of the parties, their earning abilities, the duration of the marriage and conduct of the parties during the marriage, their station in life, the circumstances and necessities of each, their health and physical conditions, their financial circumstances as shown by the property owned at the time, its value at the time, its income-producing capacity, if any, whether accumulated before or after the marriage, and such other matters as may be material. The Court will also look at whether or not the marriage should be considered “long term,” as that has some bearing on the court’s decision as well. This all being said, if you are trying to reach an agreement on the division of assets and debts prior to trial, it is best to ask an experienced attorney.

How Do I Find Out What Assets My Spouse Has/Whether My Spouse Is Hiding Assets?

During your divorce, you can do all sorts of things to identify and value the assets of the marriage. The most common involves written questions issued to the opposing party that they must respond to under oath. In divorces, it is common to receive bank records via subpoena which can be used to trace money. It is also common to take a party’s deposition in which you get to ask them questions in person. It is prudent to consult with an attorney to see which method best fits your situation.

Will I Get/Have To Pay Alimony?

Like most things involving the law, this answer is “it depends.” Many factors are considered when making this determination. They include the “Ruff-Fischer Guidelines” listed above. They also include a spouse’s ability to pay and the other spouse’s need for support. It may be the case that many of the factors weigh in favor of a spousal support payment, yet it is clear a spousal support payment cannot be ordered given the fact there is no ability to pay it.

Can I Make The Other Party Change Their Name?

In our society, it is not uncommon for a wife to take on the surname of her husband at the time of marriage (although it is becoming increasingly common for the husband to take the name of his wife). Whatever the case may be, the person whose name was “taken on” by the other at the time of marriage may “want it back.” No one can force their spouse to change their last name at the time of the divorce. And in most situations in which children are involved, most parents want their last name to be the same as their children’s. This said, if a spouse wants to change their name back to their “maiden name,” divorce is the time to do it. This is because it is much easier and cheaper. The typical requirements of a criminal history record check, publishing notice of the intent to make a name change, and making a report to the bureau of criminal investigation after the completion of the name change, are all waived if they are done within a divorce action.


Family law matters, especially divorces, can be emotional. You should contact an experienced family law attorney that can help you understand what is happening and what could happen during the process.

If you need assistance navigating any family law issues please contact us!