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HOME   State Custody Excerpts
North Dakota
14-09-06. Priority of custody of father and mother. The husband and father and wife and mother have equal rights with regard to the care, custody, education, and control of the children of the marriage, while such husband and wife live separate and apart from each other, and when they so live in a state of separation without being divorced, the district court or judge thereof, upon application of either, may grant a writ of habeas corpus to inquire into the custody of any minor unmarried child of the marriage, and may award the custody of such child to either for such time and under such regulations as the case may require. The decision of the court or judge must be guided by the rules provided by law for awarding the custody of a minor or the appointment of a general guardian.
14-09-06.1. Awarding custody - Best interests and welfare of child. An order for
custody of an unmarried minor child entered pursuant to this chapter must award the custody of the child to a person, agency, organization, or institution as will, in the opinion of the judge, promote the best interests and welfare of the child. Between the mother and father, whether natural or adoptive, there is no presumption as to who will better promote the best interests and welfare of the child.
14-09-06.2. Best interests and welfare of child - Court consideration - Factors.
1. For the purpose of custody, the best interests and welfare of the child is determined by the court's consideration and evaluation of all factors affecting the best interests
and welfare of the child. These factors include all of the following when applicable:
a. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and
b. The capacity and disposition of the parents to give the child love, affection, and
guidance and to continue the education of the child.
c. The disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical
care, or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this
state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.
d. The length of time the child has lived in a stable satisfactory environment and
the desirability of maintaining continuity.
e. The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
f. The moral fitness of the parents.
g. The mental and physical health of the parents.
h. The home, school, and community record of the child.
i. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of
sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
underlying the investigator's report and the names and addresses of all persons
case justifying a modification. If a prima facie case is established, the court shall set
14-09-07. Residence of child. A parent entitled to the custody of a child may not
change the residence of the child to another state except upon order of the court or with the
consent of the noncustodial parent, if the noncustodial parent has been given visitation rights by
the decree. A court order is not required if the noncustodial parent:
1. Has not exercised visitation rights for a period of one year; or
2. Has moved to another state and is more than fifty miles [80.47 kilometers] from the
residence of the custodial parent.

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