Legal Information: North Dakota

Custody

Updated: 
February 26, 2019

Can I file for custody in North Dakota?

Generally, you can file for custody in North Dakota if North Dakota is your child's "home state." The child's "home state" is generally the last state where your child has lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six months in a row. If your child is less than six months old, then your child's home state is the state where s/he has lived since birth. (Leaving the state for a short period of time does not change your child's home state).1

If you and your child recently moved to North Dakota, generally you cannot file for custody in North Dakota until you have lived there for at least six months. Until then, you or the other parent can start a custody action in the state where your child has most recently lived for at least six months. However, there are exceptions to the "home state rule."

1 N.D.C.C. §§ 14-14.1-01(6); 14-14.1-12(1)