How to File for Divorce in the Military in North Dakota


Filing for divorce while being in the military poses a few different issues compared to a civilian divorce. But, it is not impossible and can even be easy to do once you know how.   

In this article, we will discuss all you need to know to file for a divorce in the Military in North Dakota.  

Laws and regulations regarding divorce for those in the military 

If you are in the military, a few rules need to be followed before filing for a divorce.   

Most of these laws are in place to protect spouses who are on active duty in the military. For example, if a spouse is stationed somewhere and their spouse files for a divorce, the law protects them from being held in default for not responding to the divorce action.  

According to the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521, and at the discretion of the local North Dakota court, divorce proceedings can be postponed while the military spouse is on active duty and for up to 60 days after active duty ends.   

But if the spouse on active duty would like to get divorced, they can waive this protection.   

However, for the divorce proceedings to continue, the spouse on duty will need to be served a summons in person so that the North Dakota court can have jurisdiction over their case.   

If the divorce is uncontested, the spouse in the military does not have to be served with a divorce summons as long as they sign a waiver acknowledging that they know about the divorce.   

What are the residency requirements? 

  • You or your spouse will need to be a resident of North Dakota 
  • You or your spouse will need to be stationed in North Dakota before filing for a divorce.

What are some differences between a military divorce and a civilian divorce? 

You will need to consider the following when filing for a military divorce:  

  • Military pension rights 
  • Calculation of child and spousal support 
  • How deployment and relocation will affect custody and visitation 
  • Where will the divorce be filed 

Steps for filing for a divorce in the Military in North Dakota 

The court views a civilian divorce and a military divorce as the same. So, the process is similar, but there are quite a few different divorce forms to fill out. And the above laws and regulations need to be adhered to.  

Also, if children are involved in the divorce proceedings, the spouses will need to discuss custody arrangements and what will happen if a military spouse is deployed. 

Step 1: File your petition for divorce 

The first thing that you would need to do is file a Complaint for Divorce in the state in which you live. If you are unsure about how to file for a divorce, you could always use a lawyer to help you understand the process or get the ball rolling.  

North Dakota has a state website where you can download divorce papers, but due to the complexity of a military divorce, using a lawyer or using an online divorce service (if uncontested) would be a wiser option.   

Step 2: Summon your spouse 

If your spouse is currently deployed, they will have 90 days to answer the summons, and a court can extend the time between 60 and 90 days further if need be. This protects your spouse from being in default of the divorce proceedings.   

In some cases, the process might be drawn out, especially if your spouse is deployed in a worn-torn area.   

You would need to make use of a professional server for this step.   

Step 3: Your spouse needs to answer your summons 

Once your spouse recognizes that you have filed a petition for divorce, they will need to answer the summons.  Your spouse might agree to the divorce or disagree. If they disagree, this is known as a contested divorce, and you would need to make use of a military divorce lawyer to help you further.  

Step 4: Settlement agreements 

During this step, you and your spouse will need to come to an agreement on how to divide assets, debts, military pensions (if applicable), and child custody if you have children.  

You will also need to discuss child support and alimony.   

If you and your spouse agree,  you can submit this agreement to the judge. If not, you might need to make use of a mediator. Whatever you do, try to keep your case out of court, as this will be costly and lengthy.   

Step 5: Judge finalizes your divorce 

Once the agreements have been settled, and a judge listens to both testimonies, they will grant you your divorce decree and finalize the proceedings.  

How long does a military divorce take? 

On average, a military divorce can take around 6 months up to a few years, depending on the circumstances.   

Can you use a web divorce service if you are in the military? 

The good news is that if you have an uncontested divorce (where you and your spouse end things amicably and agree on all the terms), you can use a web divorce service.   

Many couples choose these services because they are:  

  • Fast (You will receive your paperwork within 2 working days) 
  • Reliable (You receive 100% guaranteed documents that hold up in court) 
  • Affordable (Some packages start from as little as $139)

In conclusion 

A military divorce is more complicated than a civilian divorce. There are many different forms and processes that you will need to consider before you begin. 

Because of the complexities of a military divorce, it would be better to use a lawyer, especially if it is contested. An online divorce is only possible if it is an uncontested divorce with no issues.


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