Educational Materials

Here you will find educational materials related to crime victims and family law issues. Click on the categories below to display information and resources, along with expanded subcategories.

Domestic Violence is an act of violence or threatened act of violence by a family or household member. A family or household member is any person with a sufficient relationship to the victim, which includes someone with whom the victim is or has been related to, lived with, or been involved in a relationship with.

North Dakota’s criminal law defines Domestic Violence and allows Domestic Violence to be a criminal charge by itself. Anyone can be a victim or an abuser regardless of their gender.

North Dakota Century Code Chapter 14-07.1

People who are afraid for their safety because of a recent event of actual domestic violence or a threat that domestic violence is about to happen can ask the court for a domestic violence protection order. Such events include pushing, shoving, grabbing, slapping, punching, pulling hair, or threatening with a weapon. The order tells the Respondent not do certain things, such as not to contact the victim or go to the victim’s home.

The victim who asks for the protection order is called the Petitioner or Protected Party. The person who the order is against is called the Respondent or Restrained Party.

The court may grant other relief such as temporary decisions on custody, temporary decisions on property, requiring counseling, or support payments for victim and minor child. The court may also require the Respondent to surrender firearms or other dangerous weapons.

North Dakota Century Code Chapter 14-07.1

Legal Self Help Form

An ex parte temporary protection order (temporary order) can be filed when a person fears that she or he is in immediate and present danger of domestic violence.

The temporary order can be granted without a hearing or the other side even knowing about the request. However, a full hearing must be scheduled no later than fourteen days from the day the temporary order is signed by the judge. If a hearing is not scheduled in those fourteen days, then there must be good cause shown as to why the full hearing was not in that time frame.

The temporary order will remain in effect until the order is dismissed by the court or a permanent protection order is entered and served on the other party. “Served” means that an adult who is not part of the case, usually a Sheriff’s deputy, gives a copy of the application and notice of a hearing to the Respondent. This must be done at least five days before the hearing

In order for a permanent domestic violence protection order (permanent order) to be granted, the court has to find a recent event of actual domestic violence or a threat that domestic violence is about to happen. This is applied in the same way the temporary order was done. There is no time limit on the permanent order and, therefore, the time limit will be up to the judge to decide.

If the court grants the permanent order, the order will be served on the Respondent. The temporary order will remain in effect until the permanent order has been served.

Once the permanent order is served on the Respondent, they can be arrested immediately if they violate the order.

The Respondent can be restricted from possessing or obtaining any firearms if there is a permanent order. They may also be required to surrender firearms or dangerous weapons to law enforcement.

North Dakota law allows victims to seek protection orders in North Dakota even if the incident occurred in another state. A victim who has just moved to North Dakota may ask a court to grant a protection order against another party. However, the relief granted for an out of state incident of domestic violence will only be limitations on the Respondent such as no contact with Petitioner. The court will not grant any decisions on custody, visitation, property, or child support when the domestic violence incident occurred outside of North Dakota.

If a victim has a protection order from another state, the victim does not have to register this protection order when they move. The limits on the other party will be honored through Full Faith and Credit, which is required by federal law. Though the victim does not have to register the protection order, certain provisions in the protection order may not be enforced by local law enforcement unless the order is registered within the state court system. These provisions may include things like custody and/or visitation.

If the victim wishes to register the protection order from another state, the victim will need to take the protection order to the Clerk of Court and they will have a judge review the protection order. Then they will take the necessary steps to register the protection order. Having a protection order registered in North Dakota will not cost the victim any money.

A victim of sexual assault may ask the court for a sexual assault restraining order (SARO).

Sexual assault means non-consensual sexual contact. This is when there is unwanted sexual contact or behavior when a victim did not consent or was unable to consent.

Parents, stepparents, or guardians of a minor who believe the minor is a victim of sexual assault may also ask for a SARO. The SARO tells the Respondent not to do certain things, such as not to harass, stalk, or threaten the victim. The SARO also prohibits the Respondent from contacting the victim or going to their home, school, or place where they work.

The victim who asks for the SARO is called the Petitioner or Protected Party. The person who the SARO is against is called the Respondent or Restrained Party.

A temporary SARO may be granted by the court if the court finds that the Petitioner alleges reasonable grounds to believe the sexual assault was committed by the Respondent. This temporary SARO can be done without the other side knowing.

The temporary SARO will remain in effect until the order is dismissed by the court or a permanent SARO is entered and served on the other party. “Served” means that an adult who is not part of the case, usually a Sheriff’s deputy, gives a copy of the application and notice of a hearing to the Respondent. The Respondent will be served with the temporary SARO and given notice of time and place for the hearing on a permanent SARO.

This hearing will be set within 14 days after the temporary SARO is granted, unless in writing the parties agree to extend the hearing date past the 14 days or if the court is shown that the Respondent was not served with the temporary SARO. The court can also extend the hearing past 14 days if there is good cause shown.

In order for a permanent SARO to be granted, the Petitioner must show the court that there are reasonable grounds for the court to believe the sexual assault was committed by the Respondent. This is applied in the same way the temporary SARO was done. If the permanent SARO is granted by the court it can only be in place for two years or less.

North Dakota Century Code Section 12.1-31-01.2
Legal Self Help Form

Sexual Assault Restraining Order Educational Material PDF

North Dakota law allows a victim to seek relief from disorderly conduct of another person even if the two people do not have a relationship.

Disorderly conduct is defined as unwanted acts, words or gestures that are meant to have a harmful effect on the other person. A harmful effect means to harm their safety, security, or privacy. However, this does not include constitutionally protected activity like picketing. This order is called a Disorderly Conduct Restraining Order (DCRO). This order tells the other person not to do certain things, such as contact the victim.

The victim who asks for a DCRO is called the Petitioner or Protected Party. The person who the order is against is called the Respondent or Restrained Party.

A temporary DCRO may be granted before a full hearing if the court has reasonable grounds to believe that the Respondent has engaged in disorderly conduct. This temporary DCRO once served on the Respondent will order them to quit and have no contact with the victim. Serve means that an adult who is usually not part of the case, usually a Sheriff’s deputy, gives a copy of the temporary DCRO to Respondent.

A full hearing will be scheduled within 14 days of the temporary DCRO being granted. For a victim to get a DCRO, the court will need to find reasonable grounds to believe the Respondent has engaged in disorderly conduct, such as unwanted acts, words or gestures that are meant to have a harmful effect on the Petitioner.

If the court grants the DCRO, the order will be served on the Respondent and tells them that they may be arrested without a warrant if they do not follow the order. The DCRO can be granted for up to two years, but unlike a Domestic Violence Protection Order, weapons cannot be removed.

North Dakota Century Code Chapter 12.1-31.2

Legal Self Help Form

Disorderly Conduct Restraining Order Education Material PDF

Divorce is the legal process to end a marriage. Divorces in North Dakota may be granted for different reasons. These reasons include adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect, abuse or alcohol or controlled substances, conviction of a felony, or irreconcilable differences.

The most common reason for divorce is irreconcilable differences. The court will not have to find fault in the parties but instead will need to only decide that there are substantial reasons for why the marriage should not continue.

To file for divorce in North Dakota, the plaintiff or the person seeking a divorce must have lived in North Dakota for six months before the entry of divorce. However, a divorce action may be filed while the plaintiff is waiting to reach the six month time period.

When people seek a divorce, common issues come up. These issues include custody, visitation, child support, medical coverage, spousal support, division of property, and division of debts. The court makes an equitable or fair distribution of the property and debts in a divorce action. A person in a divorce also has a right to return their name to their original name before they were married.

Once a divorce action has begun, which is when the divorce papers are served, neither of the spouses can sell or get rid of property unless a court allows them to do so. Within 30 days of service of the divorce papers, both people and their attorneys must meet. At this meeting, a joint informational statement, property listing, and debt listing must be done. Both spouses will be required to share certain information. This information includes employment and pay information, tax return information, and pension information.

North Dakota Century Code Chapter 14-05

Legal Self Help Forms

Paternity law deals with the identity of a child’s biological father.

Before a court can make any decisions about a child, the identity of both biological parents must be clear. A parent or public authority supporting the child may file a paternity case to identify the father of the child. Once paternity is proven, the court can enter orders about custody, visitation, child support, and order medical insurance coverage to be paid. The court may also have the child’s birth certificate to be changed, if needed.

North Dakota law provides ways a father-child relationship can be shown between a man and a child.

  • Genetic Testing or what is known as a DNA test. This testing is used to legally determine who the father is but testing will not be available if the father or paternity has already been established. The court may require the father to pay or split costs, or the court may order the county social service board to pay for testing.
  • Presumed paternity is either when a child has been born during a marriage or within 300 days after the marriage has ended (divorce, death, annulment) or parties have been separated, then the husband is presumed to be the father of the child. Presumed paternity can also be established when the man openly held himself out to be the father.
  • Court Adjudication is when through a court order a father-child relationship is determined. A legal action with a summons and complaint will begin this process.
  • Adoption is a court process that creates a parent and child relationship. A person asks the court to adopt the child. Once a child is adopted they will be considered blood relatives.
  • Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment is when a form is signed that legally establishes the father-child relationship. This usually occurs when a child is born to unmarried parents and the mother has not disagreed to the acknowledgement by the father. After the form is filled out and signed then the father’s name will go on the child’s birth certificate.

North Dakota Century Code Chapter 14-20
North Dakota Human Services - Paternity

The legal custody process in North Dakota is called residential responsibility. A parent can file a custody case whether or not they are married to each other.

Residential responsibility deals with how much parenting time each parent may have with their child if the parents do not live together. Either the parents can agree on how much time each parent gets with the child by what is known as a parenting plan, or the court decides, based on the “best interests of the child”.

Best interest of the child includes many factors, which include:

  • Love and emotional ties between parent and child
  • Ability to assure the child gets adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment
  • Ability to meet child’s developmental needs
  • Sufficiency and stability of home environment, impact of extended family, length of time child has been in home, and desirability of maintaining child in home and community
  • Moral fitness, at it impacts the child
  • Mental and physical health, as it impacts the child
  • Home and school record and effect of change
  • If the child of sufficient maturity for sound judgment, child’s preference (there is not set age)
  • Evidence of domestic violence
  • Interaction of child with any person who resides or frequents the home
  • Making false allegations of harm to child by other parent
  • Any other relevant factors that the court should consider


North Dakota Century Code Section 14-09-06.2

Domestic violence can affect residential responsibility. If domestic violence has occurred and there is one incident that resulted in serious bodily injury or a dangerous weapon was used, the court may presume the parent who committed domestic violence should not be granted custody of the child. The court may also presume the parent who committed domestic violence should not be granted custody of the child if there is a pattern of domestic violence within a reasonable time of the proceeding. North Dakota includes physical harm and the infliction of fear of physical harm when defining domestic violence.

A parent who is presumed to not be granted custody under the above circumstances can show with clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child to have custody. The judge will take all of this evidence into consideration and the judge has the choice to decide how to assign residential responsibility.

When the court has special concern about the child’s future or when parties in divorce or separation cases where residential responsibility is contested, the court may appoint a Parenting Investigator. This investigator is an advocate for the child’s best interest in residential responsibility, child support, and parenting time issues.

North Dakota Century Code Section 14-09-06.4

A parenting plan is a detailed schedule that is either done by the parents or, if parents cannot agree, is created and ordered by the court.

North Dakota law requires parents to have a parenting plan in regards to custody and visitation. This parenting plan is created to be in the best interest of the child and should be as detailed as possible. The parenting plan is meant to help establish parental roles, set up parenting time, decrease conflict, and keep the parents from having to have a court involved in the future.

An example of a parenting plan is here under Paragraphs 4 through 18.

Generally, the parents of a child are given priority in residential responsibility. However, when both parents have harmed the child or the parents have left the child, a court may consider giving residential responsibility to a third party. The child’s closest adult family member is given priority in these situations.

Typically a parent cannot terminate the parental rights of another parent.

However, there are certain circumstances where a parents rights may be terminated by the court. The court may terminate a parents rights if the child was abandoned, aggravated circumstances are present, or the child is deprived. Aggravated circumstances include torture, continued abuse or sexual abuse. Parental rights may also be terminated when a parent fails to make efforts to get treatment for addiction or mental illness. A child is deprived when the child is neglected when a child is not properly taken care of by the parent and this will most likely continue.

In child deprivation cases a parent accused may be allowed to get counsel if that parent is low income. Though a court may not terminate the parents it rights the court may order the parents to do others things such as treatment or have a child go live with other relatives.

North Dakota Century Code Section 27-20-02

In North Dakota, grandparent do not have rights to custody or visitation.

However, a grandparent may be granted guardianship of a child if depravation is present. A child is deprived when the child is neglected when a child is not properly taken care of by the parent and this will most likely continue.

North Dakota Century Code Section 27-20-30

A parent with primary residential responsibility for a child may not move the child out of state unless a court order says or with written consent of the other parent. This means the court will have to say that the parent can move out of the state with the child or the other parent says in writing it is okay.

However, a court order is not required if the other parent has had no contact with the child for a period of a year or the other parent moved to another state and lives more than fifty miles from the child.

North Dakota Century Code Section 14-09-07

The legal visitation process in North Dakota is called parenting time. The purpose of parenting time is to encourage a parent-child relationship that is in the best interest of the child, unless this parenting time would put the child in danger.

A parenting plan is a detailed schedule that is either done by the parents or, if parents cannot agree, is created and ordered by the court.

North Dakota law requires parents to have a parenting plan in regards to custody and visitation. This parenting plan is created to be in the best interest of the child and should be as detailed as possible. The parenting plan is meant to help establish parental roles, set up parenting time, decrease conflict, and keep the parents from having to have a court involved in the future.

An example of a parenting plan is here under Paragraphs 4 through 18.

In certain circumstances, the court may require supervised parenting time. Supervised parenting time is usually when parenting time will be supervised by a third party. Parenting centers are available in North Dakota and should be used when possible.

Supervised parenting time is only used in circumstances in which the child’s health or safety is at risk.  The court usually puts limitations on the duration of the supervised parenting time and/or allows the other party an opportunity to transition into unsupervised parenting time.

If you are being denied parenting time, keep track of the dates that you were denied and then ask the other parent to makeup the time you were not able to see your child. If the other parent is denying you time with you child regularly, you may need to call an attorney to help you with following the parenting plan. A parent should not deny another parent parenting time unless the other parent is aware that this time would put the child in danger.

A parent should not stop child support or not allow parenting time when the other parent is not following the court order. The court may enter penalties for either parent not following the parenting plan.  

Child Support is a regular, ongoing payment made by one parent to the other parent to support a child. Child support payments are court-ordered. The amount of child support paid in North Dakota is based on criteria set by the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

A child support calculator can be found here. Courts typically rely on these calculations unless there are special circumstances. If a parent wishes to change the child support amount, this must be done through a motion to the court, which means the other parent must be served the motion.


Once a child support order is entered by a court, child support payments can be paid through the State Disbursement Unit. To make a payment, click here.


Child Support Forms & FAQs

Legal Self Help Forms

Child Support Education Material PDF

Immigration laws deal with non-U.S. citizens living in the United States legally. These laws govern how people who are not born in the U.S. may try to get a temporary or permanent visa to in the United States legally. Victims of crime are provided with visas specifically for them.

The U visa and the T visa are two types of temporary visas for certain victims of crime. To be able to apply for these visas, the victim of crime must be working with law enforcement on a criminal case. A U visa is for victims of violent crimes, including Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Kidnapping. A T visa is for victims of Human Trafficking. These visas are also available to immediate family members of the victim of crime.

The VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) visa is a permanent visa for victims of Domestic Violence who are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

These visas only allow someone to live in the U.S. legally. To be able to apply for a job, a visa holder must also apply for work authorization. A visa holder may also apply to become a legal permanent resident of the U.S.

Immigration law is a complicated subject, we recommend that if you have immigration questions that you contact an immigration law attorney.

U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services

Immigration Educational Material PDF

Domestic Violence is an act of violence or threatened act of violence by a family or household member. A family or household member is any person with a sufficient relationship to the victim, which includes someone with whom the victim is or has been related to, lived with, or been involved in a relationship with.

If a person is eligible for housing assistance, the housing authority cannot refuse to admit a person to a program only because they are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

If you are the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, a landlord cannot evict (kick out) a tenant (renter) based on acts or threats of violence committed against the victim.

A landlord may ask for documentation of the abuse.

Violence Against Women Act Housing Information

A victim of domestic violence of a person who fears domestic violence is about to happen against them or their minor children may be able to terminate (end) their lease.

To terminate the lease the victim will need to give the landlord a written statement. This statement says the tenant or victim fear domestic violence is about to occur from the person in a protection order they have. Though the tenant is not required to show the copy of the order. Lastly, that the victim wants to end the tenancy (end lease) and give a date they plan to do that.

The victim must give this statement to the landlord either in person, mail, or fax before they can terminate the lease. After the victim ends their lease and informs the landlord they have moved out, they are responsible for paying on month’s rent (from date of move-out) during termination or before.

North Dakota Century Code Section 47-16-17.1

The North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights is a law enforcement agency that makes sure that employers are following state laws when it comes to human rights and wage payments.

If you are an employee, former employee, or looking for a job, and you believe you were victim to unlawful discrimination you may file a claim of discrimination. Unlawful discrimination includes discrimination because of your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, public assistance, or lawful activity.

If you believe you have suffered employment discrimination click here to file a complaint.

Employment Educational Material PDF

Marsy’s Law provides victims of a crime with certain rights. To receive these rights you must ask for them.


Victims receive what is known as a Marsy’s Card that will explain the rights of you as a crime victim. Typically, this card is given to a victim by responding law enforcement when they first have contact with the victim or as soon as possible after first contact.


If you wish to ask for your rights provided by Marsy’s Law, you must either tell the law enforcement officer at the first contact or contact the prosecuting attorney’s office.


To see what rights Marsy’s Law provides click here.

In North Dakota certain people are allowed to receive payment through Crime Victims Compensation. These people include:
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  • Innocent victims who have been physically or emotionally injured, in a violent crime in North Dakota or where a compensation program is not available, and required medical care.
  • North Dakota residents injured by an act of terrorism in a foreign country.
  • Dependents of a homicide victim.
  • Individuals who pay for a funeral and/or medical expenses of a homicide victim.


To get this payment, a person must report the crime to law enforcement within 96 hours which is four days. The person must file an application within one year of the date they reported the crime to law enforcement. Another condition is that the person must cooperate with the investigation and prosecution of the offender. The person trying to receive payment cannot have been assisting in, or committing, a criminal act causing the injuries.


A person can receive payment for reasonable medical and mental health treatment and prescribed medication. Wage loss, replacement services loss, funeral expenses, and dependent’s economic loss are other ways a person can get payment. However, the amount of payment has limits, these limits include:
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  • Wage loss cannot be more than $300.00 per week
  • Funeral costs are limited to $5,000.00
  • Total recovery cannot be over $25,000.00


Payment from Crime Victims Compensation only pays for loss that other sources do not provide. You may receive payment from medical insurance, medical assistance, medicare, sick leave or annual leave paid by the employer, social security, workers compensation, or other disability benefits. If a person receives payment from these sources they are only allowed to receive the loss that is left, if any.


Sometimes a person will get recovery from the offender such as restitution or civil suit payment. If restitution is paid and the person has received payment from crime victim’s compensation then they must pay this money back. If there is payment from a civil suit they may either have to pay back the payment from crime victim’s compensation or if the payment from the civil suit is higher than the victim’s economic loss then they may be denied. If a person has a civil suit coming they must inform the crime victim’s compensation program in writing.


Lastly, there is no recovery for property loss or damage.


Click here for a Crime Victims Compensation Application.

Crime Victims Compensation Educational Material PDF

SAFETY ALERT: If you are in danger, please use a safer computer, call 911, a local hotline, the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.Escape
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