How do I contest a divorce I do not want?
If you are served with divorce papers do not want to get a divorce, you can contest the divorce. It is best to get a lawyer if you can afford it. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be able to find sources of free or low-cost legal help on our ND Finding a Lawyer Page.
What if my spouse contests the divorce?
Just because your spouse contests your divorce does not mean you definitely won’t be able to get one. If your spouse wants to contest the divorce, s/he will do so when s/he is served the divorce papers. If your spouse has a lawyer, it is usually best to get one yourself.
Contesting a divorce doesn’t necessarily mean that s/he doesn’t want to divorce. It can also mean that s/he is willing to divorce, but s/he doesn’t agree with you on how to split up the marital property or custody of the children.
When you have a contested divorce, it usually takes longer and costs more money than an uncontested divorce. However, even though your spouse contests the divorce in the beginning, that does not mean you cannot reach an agreement without going to court. If your spouse contests the divorce at first and then you reach an agreement, you can submit your agreement to the court and the judge will decide whether the agreement is fair and issue a divorce decree.
If you cannot come to an agreement, the case will go to trial. A trial can be expensive. In a trial, the judge will decide if the grounds for divorce and the things each spouse asked for are appropriate. The judge will make a final decision and issue a divorce decree.
Where can I find additional information about divorce on WomensLaw.org?
You will find more information about divorce, including the risks of taking your children out of state while a divorce is pending, on our general Divorce page. To watch brief videos about divorce in Spanish with English sub-titles, go to our Videos page. Lastly, learn more about the court process on our Preparing for Court – By Yourself page.