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3 types of spousal support in North Dakota

In 2022, North Dakota had 2,079 divorces, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In some cases, the court may have awarded spousal support.

This is a financial arrangement to ensure that both parties can maintain their financial well-being and standard of living post-divorce. North Dakota recognizes three primary types of spousal support: rehabilitative, general term and lump sum.


Rehabilitative spousal support serves a specific duration and assists the recipient spouse in acquiring the skills or education necessary for becoming self-supporting. It aims to help the recipient spouse re-enter the job market and reduce their dependence on the paying spouse.

General term

General term spousal support is open-ended, providing continuous financial aid to the recipient spouse until specific circumstances change, such as remarriage or financial self-sufficiency. The court typically awards this type of support when the recipient spouse is unlikely to achieve self-sufficiency and there is a significant income disparity between the spouses.

Lump sum

Lump sum spousal support is a one-time, predetermined payment included in the divorce settlement. It is not subject to modification or termination and offers the recipient spouse a fixed sum of money. The court usually chooses lump sum support when both parties seek a definitive resolution of financial matters and a clean break from financial ties.

When determining the type and amount of spousal support to award, North Dakota courts consider various factors. These factors may include the duration of the marriage, the financial resources and needs of each spouse, their age, health and earning potential. The goal is to ensure that the spousal support arrangement is fair and equitable, taking into account the unique circumstances of the divorce.