North Dakota Child Custody and Relocation Laws

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North Dakota uses several criteria to determine child custody laws. Primarily, a family court in North Dakota determines custody based on the best interests of the child. In North Dakota, parents who wish to file for custody should first become familiar with the child custody laws in North Dakota.

Best Interests of the Child

A family court in North Dakota uses several factors to determine the best interests of the child. Some factors considered in determining a child's best interests are:

  • Each parent's ability to provide proper food, shelter, medical care, and clothing
  • The child's home, school, and community records
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • Each parent's willingness to support and encourage a relationship between the child and the child's other parent
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • The child's preference, if the child is mature enough to make a reasonable decision (usually age 12 or older); the court will also consider whether the child's preference was influenced by anyone else
  • Each parent's love and affection towards the child, as well as each parent's ability to provide love and stability
  • Any false allegations made by one parent against the other parent that could cause, or could have caused, harm to the child

Child Custody Modification in North Dakota

In North Dakota, a court will not order a modification of custody until at least two years following the date of the original order, unless the court finds:

  • A custody modification serves the child's best interests
  • There has been a persistent and willing interference with the current custodial arrangement
  • The child's current environment poses a physical or emotional danger to the child's development
  • The primary custodial arrangement has changed for the past six months to the child's other parent

Relocation in North Dakota

A custodial parent may relocate with a child under certain limited circumstances including:

  • If the court permits the change in primary residence, or
  • If the child's other parent agrees to the relocation (in cases where the court has given the other parent visitation rights)

A court in North Dakota does not require a court order if the child's other parent:

  • Has not exercised visitation rights for a period of one year, or
  • Has moved to another state and is more than 50 miles away from the residence of the primary custodian

For more information about North Dakota child custody, speak with a qualified attorney in North Dakota or refer to the North Dakota Century Code.

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