Family Law

March 10, 2017

When Your Personal Representative Will Not Do the Job

Selecting an appropriate personal representative when creating your will is a critical step. You want to be able to trust your representative to faithfully carry out your final wishes reflected in your will. As a result, you and other North Dakota residents will often choose close family members or friends […]
March 8, 2017

Pet Custody in a Divorce

Americans love their pets. 65% of households—nearly 80 million—have a pet, and a majority of pet owners consider their pets “family members.” Couples seeking to split are increasingly likely to bring pets into their divorce proceedings, with 88% of such cases involving dogs. Despite the way many people regard their […]
March 3, 2017

Parenting Plans and Parenting Time

A parenting plan describes the child custody arrangement that you and your separating spouse will adhere to after a divorce. According to section 14-09-00.1 of the North Dakota Century Code, a parenting plan “describes each parent’s rights and responsibilities.” Section 14-09-30 elaborates on what such a plan must contain. If […]
February 27, 2017

Determining and Changing Spousal Support

In North Dakota, judges have broad discretion in ordering one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse in the event of a divorce. Spousal support (or “alimony”) is usually paid in regular installments and is intended to level the playing field for both parties. Perhaps one spouse had […]
February 17, 2017

Communicating Your Intentions: Estate Planning with Your Family

An estate plan contains arrangements for handling your affairs in case of incapacity or death. Many people concentrate on the material aspects of estate planning—the distribution of assets through a will, for example—but fail to address important considerations such as medical care during times of incapacity, or the guardianship of […]
February 10, 2017

Protect the Elderly from Financial Exploitation

When our loved ones grows old, we are often on the lookout to protect them against instances of nursing home abuse or neglect. There are other ways in which elder abuse occurs, such as when vulnerable individuals are exploited for their financial resources. Section 50-25.2-01 of the North Dakota Century […]
February 6, 2017

The Basics of Serving as a Personal Representative

Personal representatives handle the estates of deceased persons. As defined by section 30.1-18-03 of the North Dakota Century Code, they have a fiduciary duty to administer the estate according to the terms of the will or laws of probate. They have the legal power to collect the assets of the […]
February 3, 2017

Adopting Your Step-Child

The process for adopting a child can be long and complex, but when a step-parent wishes to legally adopt his or her step-child, the process can be simpler and quicker. According to the Children’s Bureau, step-parent adoption is the most common type of adoption. To Adopt or Not to Adopt? […]
January 23, 2017

Distribution of Marital Property in a Divorce

If you and your spouse are preparing for a divorce and are able to come up with a fair division of your assets, the courts in North Dakota will honor that agreement. Often, negotiating a divorce settlement with your spouse outside the courtroom is the best way to achieve a […]
December 2, 2016

Child Custody Tips: How to Gracefully Share the Kids During Holidays

The upcoming Holiday season should be all about giving thanks, but it is often difficult for divorced families to get in the holiday spirit, particularly when it means sharing their children. For those who celebrate Christmas, divorced and separated couples need to remember to help their kids focus on being […]
October 20, 2016

Wrongful Death: Damages Must be Proven in Court

Under North Dakota law, a wrongful death is one that arises from the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another. The act that causes death may be negligent, reckless, or intentional. Wrongful death claims can be made in a variety of circumstances, including fatal car accidents, medical malpractice, and dangerous […]
October 6, 2016

Are Stepparents Entitled to Visitation Rights?

Stepparents often play a crucial role in raising children and form strong bonds with them, but unless they have legally adopted a child, they likely have no legal right to make decisions on the child’s behalf. However, if a child’s parent and stepparent get divorced, 23 states now have laws […]
October 4, 2016

O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss Welcomes Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson is the newest member of the associate attorney team at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss in Fargo. Katie grew up in Grafton. She earned her Paralegal Studies Bachelor of Science degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Katie worked as a paralegal, then decided to study to become an attorney […]
September 30, 2016

When It May be Time to Write a Will

Many people drag their feet when it comes to writing a will. If you have not yet made one or have not updated it for many years, there are several triggering events that should serve to remind you that it is time to organize your estate plan: Getting Married (or […]
August 4, 2016

Things a Child Custody Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can’t)

A divorce is an extremely difficult time, and a divorce attorney is much better equipped to handle the many issues that can crop up, including child custody. Here are some things an experienced child custody attorney can do that you likely cannot: Negotiate with the Other Side – Calmly No […]
July 26, 2016

Divorce Mediation: What is it, and How Does it Work?

Just as no two marriages are alike, no two divorces will be the same. Some divorces are more complicated than others, some are contested while others are not, and some will settle through an agreement between the parties, while others will require an alternative approach for the parties to come […]
July 8, 2016

Common Mistakes People Make When Drafting a Will

Wills are necessary, but intimidating. Trying to put all your wishes into one legal document is often a daunting task, just as interpreting a will without the help of the individual who drafted it can be tricky business. That is why getting it right is essential. Here are some common […]
June 22, 2016

How to Divorce, Even If Your Spouse Won’t Sign the Papers

When a person (known as the petitioner) decides to obtain a divorce and serves divorce paperwork upon his spouse, one of three things will typically happen: If your spouse answers and agrees with your petition, you have what is known as an uncontested divorce. If your spouse answers and disagrees […]
June 20, 2016

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

When you’re contemplating divorce and looking for an attorney, remember one thing: you don’t have to hire the first one you meet. Choosing the right divorce attorney is one of the most important personal and financial decisions you are likely to ever make. Some questions to consider asking during your […]
May 31, 2016

Legal Tips for Getting a Divorce

Divorce is a painful process, but there are certain things couples can do to make a difficult experience run as smoothly as possible. Prepare for the divorce. The best way to make sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible is to be prepared for the process. This includes knowing […]
May 27, 2016

Legal Tips for Choosing a New Daycare

The demand for daycare is both widespread and problematic. According to the New York Times, approximately 12 million American children age four and under are cared for on a daily basis by someone other than a parent, not counting the millions of school age children who require care when school […]
May 5, 2016

How Do Unmarried Fathers Establish Paternity?

Paternity is legally determining the father of a child. Because every child deserves the financial and emotional support of both a mother and a father, establishing paternity is extremely important. Why Establish Paternity? Establishing paternity creates a legal relationship between a father and a child, and is particularly important for […]
May 3, 2016

North Dakota’s Abortion Lawsuit Fund In Danger of Being Drained

Lawyers representing North Dakota’s only abortion clinic have announced that they will seek litigation costs from the state after the U.S. Supreme Court refused last month to review lower court rulings overturning the state’s ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy. Federal law allows attorneys in civil rights cases […]
April 5, 2016

Are There Advantages to Legal Separation Over Divorce?

These days, more and more couples are deciding to remain separated rather than divorce, even though they no longer wish to be married. Sometimes choosing to legally separate instead of get a divorce is a good financial decision, although other reasons may also come into play. Financial Benefits One of […]
March 8, 2016

ND Fetal Heartbeat Law Blocked by High Court

North Dakota’s “fetal heartbeat” law, the toughest ban on abortions in the nation when it was enacted in 2013, has been blocked permanently when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a lower court’s ruling that overturned the law. The law banned abortions as soon as a heartbeat was detected […]
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