Cass County Divorce and Civil Cases Database search page
In 2001 the Cass County (N.D.) District Court transferred its civil case files covering from the 1870s to 1942 to the Institute for Regional Studies Archives. Included in the civil cases were the divorce proceedings handled in the Cass County District Court. The divorce cases were identified within the civil cases and removed to form a separate collection. The sixty-four linear foot collection of divorce files is fully processed and arranged by case number. The earliest divorce case dates from 1878.
The divorce case files at the Institute span from the beginning of the administering of divorce proceedings in Cass County in the 1870s through 1942. Individual files vary as to the type and number of documents and the information included. A typical file includes legal documents filed with the court: testimony, depositions, final decree and occasionally evidence such as photographs, letters and artifacts. Of particular interest are the divorce proceedings prior to July 1, 1899. Prior to that date the residency requirement to begin divorce proceedings was ninety days. Thus many individuals from others states, particularly eastern states, and even from foreign countries traveled to Fargo to take up residency in order to obtain a divorce.
A database to the litigants and attorneys was developed to aid the researcher in using these records. The database was developed by the Institute staff, using the original index ledgers and verifying against the actual files. The original indexes are maintained at the Institute. The database contains data for over 32,100 cases handled in Cass County District Court. For records after 1942, contact the Cass County Clerk of Court office, 211 9th Street South, Fargo ND 58103.
Access and Ordering Copies
The Cass County divorce cases are open for public use in the Institute for Regional Studies Archives Research Room. The civil cases (ca. 300 linear ft.) are located in off-site storage, and a twenty-four hour turn around is needed to retrieve files for use in the Research Room. Photocopying is available. Mail and e-mail photocopy requests are also welcome at a minimum charge of $5.00 per divorce file. Due to the varying number of documents in a particular case the final cost can only be determined upon staff inspection of the actual case file and its contents. The minimum charge of $5.00 includes up to 25 pages of photocopying. Copies over 25 pages cost 40 cents per page. A price quote will be provided upon request.
Mail and e-mail requests should include the name of the people involved and the case number, as found in the database. For e-mail requests please be sure to include your postal address. To place an order please consult our ordering information page.
Database mounted September 2005 (32,149 records).