Dedicated Child Custody Attorney Serving Fargo-Moorhead Metro Area Clients

If divorcing parents in North Dakota can’t agree on custody, a judge will decide for them based on the best interests of the child. Because children are at the center of a married couple’s life, few disputes within the divorce process are more sensitive and life-changing than child custody. With our decades of experience in family law, O’Day Law Offices, PC we know how difficult such cases can be for all parties. If divorcing parents can’t agree on custody, a judge will decide for them based on the best interests of the child. We seek to make the process as amicable and smooth as possible.

Legal Custody / Decision-Making Responsibility

North Dakota family law defines legal custody of a child to encompass “decision-making responsibility” or the parent’s right to decide on issues like the child’s health care, education, and religious upbringing, and have access to the child’s records. State courts mandate that parents need to agree on their specific definition of legal custody before establishing joint legal custody.

Physical Custody / Residential Responsibility

Physical custody is termed “residential responsibility” by North Dakota courts, and it designates where the child resides, and the care and control of a child during any particular week, month, or year. Parents generally work out physical custody parameters by agreeing on a custody schedule that aligns with the child’s best interests. Our firm can help you arbitrate a schedule that works for all parties.


North Dakota law recognizes several types of residential responsibility. In a primary residential responsibility situation, one parent has custody for the majority of the time while the other parent gets parenting time or “visitation.” When equal residential responsibility is established, each parent splits their custody time equally. If two or more children are involved, then split residential responsibility is established, and each parent is the primary residential parent of at least one of the children.


In custody cases, the court decides based on the best interests of the child and considers factors like interactions between the child and each parent; the income levels of each parent; any criminal history in the family; the overall nature of the home environment; and each parent’s capacity to provide love, affection, and guidance to the child.

If you don’t get along with your ex-spouse, you’ll likely face challenges as you negotiate the details surrounding custody of your child. O’Day Law Office, PC can provide the legal help you need to get a favorable outcome. Call (701) 298-9326 today to learn about your rights in establishing custody agreements.