Divorce Filing in North Carolina
For individuals who are contemplating or have recently gone through a divorce, navigating the complexity of the North Carolina divorce process can be intimidating. Every state has regulations governing divorce, such as residence restrictions or a waiting period before filing for divorce before establishing a legal separation.
All states now provide “no-fault” divorce, although prior divorce laws required evidence that one of the spouses was at fault. When awarding a no-fault divorce, the majority of states cite reasons like “irretrievable breakdown” or “irreconcilable differences”. However, in certain situations, such as those involving domestic abuse or abandonment, blame is still considered.
North Carolina Divorce Laws
The divorce rules of North Carolina provide that a divorce cannot be filed until after a year of separation and that at least one spouse must have resided in the state for a minimum of six months.
The opposite party has 30 days to reply after the divorce is filed and served on them. Should a reply be submitted, the divorce decree may be issued right away. The plaintiff must wait the entire thirty days before the divorce can be granted if no response is filed.
The following are being examined under the Divorce and Alimony Code Section
1. Residency Requirement
Prior to filing for divorce, one spouse must have spent at least six months living in North Carolina.
2. Period of separation
Divorce papers cannot be filed until the parties have been apart for a full year. The spouses are required to live apart during this time. If the other spouse has not reacted during the 30-day period or has responded, the divorce might be granted immediately.
3. Reasons for Divorce
In North Carolina, divorces can be granted on the basis of fault or without fault. The basis for a no-fault divorce is the length of the separation, whereas fault-based divorces are based on things like cruelty, infidelity, or drug addiction.
4. Equitable Distribution
When splitting marital property, North Carolina adheres to the equitable distribution principle. This tries for a fair distribution based on a number of parameters, not necessarily a 50/50 split.
Based on a variety of variables, including length of marriage, financial requirements, and level of living throughout the marriage, courts have the authority to grant spousal support, or alimony.
Child Support and Custody: while it comes to children, the child’s best interests are taken into consideration while making custody choices. The state’s rules are used to calculate child support.
Before going to court, mediation may be necessary in certain situations to settle conflicts.
How to File in North Carolina for Divorce
In order to initiate a divorce in North Carolina, you must submit the necessary court documents to the county clerk in the county in which you or your spouse now reside.
Depending on whether you are filing an uncontested or contested divorce, several forms must be filed. Generally speaking, among other forms, you must submit the following documents:
- A Complaint for Absolute Divorce
- A Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet
- A Civil Summons
North Carolina Divorce Paperwork Service
You must appropriately tell your spouse when you file for divorce, this is known as process service. It can be done in a variety of ways, including service by sheriff, certified mail with a return receipt, or delivery courier.
Instead of serving your spouse, you might have them sign an Acceptance of Service form, which you then file with the court. If you don’t know where your spouse is, you can serve him or her by publishing a notice in the newspaper.
Contested or Uncontested Divorce
In North Carolina, you can choose between a disputed and uncontested divorce.
An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties reach an agreement on the problems. When the parties cannot agree, the court must convene a hearing to rule on issues like as property and custody split, as well as support.
When possible, most couples benefit from an uncontested divorce because they save money by avoiding litigation and making decisions that are best for their family jointly. However, not every divorcing couple can reach an agreement, which is why contentious divorces are occasionally necessary.
Obtaining Legal Assistance for a Divorce in North Carolina
A North Carolina divorce attorney can help you navigate the process of dissolving your marriage and avoid unnecessary delays caused by filing incorrect documents or failing to meet the state’s standards for marriage dissolution.
A qualified family law attorney can also assist you in negotiating an out-of-court divorce settlement so that you can proceed with an uncontested divorce, or they can represent you in court to fight for your desired outcomes on custody, support, and property division.
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce
1. Can I receive alimony?
Alimony (sometimes known as maintenance) is a type of financial assistance paid by or to your spouse that might be awarded as part of a divorce settlement. A judge may grant you alimony if he or she determines that:
You are the dependent spouse; your spouse is the supporting spouse; and paying you alimony is fair (equitable) after taking into account some factors. However, in some cases of marital misbehavior, the judge may refuse to award alimony.
2. What are the fundamental procedures in filing for divorce?
While divorce laws differ by state, the following are the essential steps:
- You must meet the state’s residency criteria.
- You must have “grounds” (a legal cause) for ending your marriage.
- You must file for divorce and have copies given to your husband.
- Your spouse will have the chance to file papers presenting their side of the story if they disagree with anything in the divorce paperwork. We refer to this as “contesting the divorce.” You will need to appear in court several times to resolve the matter if s/he challenges it. Your spouse should sign the documents and return them to you if there is nothing that they disagree with. This is known as a “simplified divorce” if your spouse signs the paperwork and concurs with everything, but it is only an option if you two do not have children together. You would need to submit a standard petition for dissolution of marriage if your spouse does not sign the documents for a simple divorce. If your partner doesn’t respond to those papers after being properly served, you can get a divorce “by default” .
In the event that you require financial support from your spouse or need to share property, you will need to resolve these issues through a series of court hearings or an out-of-court settlement. The decision on custody may also be made during your divorce.
3. What is Divorce from bed and board?
Although it doesn’t truly dissolve (stop) the marriage, a divorce from bed and board is comparable to a legal separation and may be a means to preserve your rights or obtain child or spousal support until you can obtain an absolute divorce in court. This is a fault-based action that is typically brought by a wounded spouse to get the other spouse evicted from the house.
In order to get a divorce from bed and board, you have to prove at least one of the following:
- Being forcibly removed from the home
- Brutal treatment that puts your life in jeopardy (like physical abuse).
- Someone who makes your life miserable (like emotional abuse)
- Drug or alcohol abuse to the extent where you are unable to live with your partner.
4. What are the causes (grounds) in North Carolina for filing for divorce?
The grounds for divorce are the reasons that lead to a divorce. In North Carolina, a divorce can be granted with what the law terms a “absolute divorce,” meaning that neither party has to provide evidence of wrongdoing. North Carolina is referred to as a “no-fault state” for this reason.
In North Carolina, there are just two grounds (reasons) for divorce:
- Separation lasting a year; or
- One spouse’s irreversible insanity and three years of living apart (separation from cohabitation), including the petition’s filing date.
5. What grounds do I have for an annulment?
Contrary to popular belief, an annulment cannot be granted to a spouse based solely on the length of their marriage. Rather, the length of the marriage does not determine eligible spouse status.
An annulment (deeming void) of a marriage is possible in North Carolina when:
- Spouses are “double first cousins,” which means that two brothers married two sisters, and those children are each other’s double first cousins.
- One of the spouses was under 16 when the marriage was consummated.
- Spouses are related more closely (“nearer of kin”) than first cousins.
- At the time of the current marriage, one of the spouses was either physically impotent, already legally married, or incapable of giving their assent because they were incompetent or unable.