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Legal Information: North Dakota


Laws current as of
December 28, 2023

What types of parental rights and responsibilities are part of a custody decision?

In North Dakota, custody is called “parental rights and responsibilities.” When a judge makes an order for parental rights and responsibilities, s/he will decide two basic things: “decision-making responsibility” and “residential responsibility.”

Decision-making responsibility is the responsibility to make decisions concerning the child. The term may refer to decisions on all issues or on specific issues included in the order.1 Some types of decisions often included in this are:

  • where your child goes to school;
  • whether your child gets medical treatment, such as surgery; and
  • what kind of religious training your child receives.

Residential responsibility means a parent’s responsibility to provide a home for the child.2 If a parent has more than 50% of the residential responsibility, s/he has “primary residential responsibility”3 and that parent may be referred to as the “custodial parent.”

After a judge decides which parent has which responsibilities, it is all written down in a parenting plan.4

1 N.D. Cent. Code § 14-09-00.1(1)
2 N.D. Cent. Code § 14-09-00.1(7)
3 N.D. Cent. Code § 14-09-00.1(6)
4 N.D. Cent. Code § 14-09-00.1(3)