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Effects of Infidelity on Divorce in North Dakota

It can be really devastating when a person discovers that his/her spouse is involved in an adulterous relationship. An
extramarital affair can even lead to a divorce. All states in the United States permit no-fault divorce but North Dakota is
among those few American states, which also identify fault-based divorce. Thus, infidelity in North Dakota is a ground for spousal support, or alimony, as well as, a fault-based divorce.

No-fault and fault-based divorce

Let us try to first understand the difference between a fault-based and a no-fault divorce:

No-fault divorce is one wherein the spouse while filing for divorce need not establish that his/her spouse did something wrong. Rather, they have to simply mention a cause for filing the divorce. The most common form of “no-fault” divorce is cited as irreconcilable differences.

On the other hand, a fault-based divorce is one where the spouse that files for a divorce has to mention the legal ground
for applying the divorce. The state of North Dakota has many legal grounds, which can be claimed by a spouse including
infidelity, which is mentioned in the following section:


North Dakota legal divorce grounds

In North Dakota, there are many reasons or “grounds” for initiating a divorce lawsuit that is listed below:

1. Infidelity
2. Willful neglect
3. Extreme cruelty
4. Abuse of controlled substances or alcohol
5. Felony conviction
6. Willful desertion, and
7. Irreconcilable differences

The last legal ground signifies that the couple is not able to get along any longer or the marriage is irreparable. While the first 6 legal reasons fall under the category of “fault-based” divorce, the last one is a kind of “no-fault’ divorce. If it is a fault-based divorce, the onus is on one of the spouses to prove that his/her partner has committed any of the above-listed 6 types of misconduct to get a divorce.

What is adultery in North Dakota?

Adultery in the state of North Dakota has been described as sexual intercourse that a married individual indulges with someone outside their marriage voluntarily. The love interest has to be one other than the wife or husband of the offender. If a spouse wishes to get a divorce on the ground of infidelity in North Dakota, he/she has to prove the act that frequently comprises introducing testimonies of the eyewitnesses or pictures.

While granting a divorce, judges in the state can instruct a spouse to pay alimony or spousal support to the other spouse. While ascertaining whether to award spousal support to a spouse, the judge will also take into account the prevailing circumstances.

It also signifies that the judge can consider each spouse’s financial status apart from their health conditions, marital misconduct, and the duration for which they have been married. Thus, the courts in the state have discretionary power to award alimony or spousal support when it discovers that one of the spouses was involved in an adulterous behavior.



A divorce is not only emotionally difficult for the spouses but can be also financially devastating for the couple. Also, where infidelity is involved, the marriage can not only come to an end but the innocent spouse can be granted spousal support. Consulting an experienced divorce lawyer can come handy for exploring the various intricacies of a divorce. They can also prepare their clients for all potential outcomes.

It is also imperative to consider the kind of divorce case to file in the state of North Dakota, particularly where kids are
present in a marriage. After all, they are the ones who get most affected when the parents have a marital conflict. It is also crucial to know that while the non-cheating spouse condones infidelity; such an act may not be the basis for getting divorced.

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