How To File For Divorce
Any married couple, trying to know how to file for divorce will achieve two goals: dissolving their marriage and allocating their assets and debts. Alimony may become a problem if one of them is unable to support himself after the divorce. The problems of child support and custody must be settled if there are small children.
This blog post will explain the steps involved in obtaining a divorce in North Carolina.
Where to file and residency
In North Carolina, you or your spouse must have lived there for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce. The General Court of Justice’s Superior Division or District Division in the county where either party resides is where you may submit a case.
An uncontested divorce is the easiest to go through if you and your spouse can agree on every detail. To commence, you need to gather several supporting papers and draft a Complaint for Divorce. One of these documents will be a marital settlement agreement, which outlines the division of assets and your agreement over any children, in the event of an uncontested divorce. Copies of these documents are sent to your spouse and are filed with the court. At the court hearing, the judge will check that all of your documents are in order, maybe ask you a few questions, then enter your divorce decree.
Reasons for Divorce
Legally acknowledged causes for divorce are known as grounds for divorce. This serves as the rationale for ending the marriage. Like other states, North Carolina has two conventional fault-based grounds for divorce in addition to what are known as no-fault grounds.
In North Carolina, you must specify in the divorce complaint that “the parties have been living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year” in order to obtain a no-fault divorce. Although you have to live apart, having solitary sex for the first year does not prevent you from getting a divorce.
Divorce can be granted on two fault-based grounds: three years of incarceration for incurable insanity or three years of examination-based irreversible mental illness. Both of them, however, complicate matters by demanding proof, so there’s usually no reason to employ them.
Division of property
Property and debt division occurs during a divorce between you and your ex-spouse. Typically, each party will retain distinct property, which includes:
1. obtained prior to marriage, by inheritance, or as a non-spousal gift during the marriage;
2. obtained in return for separate property, including gains on or income from such property;
3. and any business or professional licenses that would expire upon transfer.
Everything else is either divided property (if gained after the date of separation) or marital property (if acquired during the marriage and prior to the date of separation). Unless the judge decides that an equal division is not equitable, the parties’ marital and divisible property is divided equally after taking into account the following factors:
1. The income, assets, and liabilities of each party at the time the division of property is to take effect
2. Any support obligations resulting from a previous marriage; the length of the marriage; the ages, physical, and mental health of each party;
3. The requirement for the custodial party to occupy or own the marital residence or household effects;
4. any pension, retirement, or other deferred compensation that is not marital property;
5. Any equitable claim to, interest in, or contribution to, the acquisition of marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services, or lack thereof, as a spouse, wage earner, or homemaker
6. Any direct or indirect contribution made by one spouse to further the education or professional prospects of the other
7. Any other factor that the court deems to be just and proper. the tax consequences to each party actions taken by either party to maintain, preserve, develop, or expand;
8. Or to waste, neglect, devalue, or convert the marital property or divisible property, or both, during the time after the parties’ separation and before the time of distribution.
In order to provide alimony, the court must determine that the party requesting it is a dependent spouse and that it is equitable to do so after taking into account “all relevant factors,” some of which are mentioned below. Whether or not a party is found to have engaged in unlawful sexual activity before, on, or during the separation date is a significant determining element.
Alimony is prohibited if it was the party requesting it. If the other party was at fault, alimony is due. Should it have been both parties, the court would have to make a decision after taking all the facts into account.
Absence of a party agreement
In the absence of a party agreement, the court will weigh all pertinent considerations before deciding on the amount, length, and mode of alimony payment, including:
1. The amount and sources of earned and unearned income for each party, including earnings, dividends, and benefits like medical, retirement, insurance, and social security
2. Each party’s age
3. Each party’s physical, mental, and emotional state
4. Any marital misconduct committed by any of the parties
5. The parties’ relative earnings and earning capacities
6. The length of the marriage; the extent to which a party’s earning capacity, expenses, or financial obligations will be impacted by acting as a minor child’s custodian
7. And a party’s contribution to the other party’s education or enhanced earning potential
North Carolina Child Custody
A custody decision must be made if you and your spouse have any minor children. This is about figuring out how the parents will split up the child’ time and how decisions will be made. A custody agreement that you and your spouse come to will be upheld by the court unless it is shown to be against the best interests of the kid. In the absence of such circumstances, the judge will make a decision “as will best promote the interest and welfare of the child,” taking into account any instances of domestic abuse, the child’s protection, and the safety of either partner.
North Carolina Child Support
The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which can be found on the state government’s website along with worksheets for child support, determine child support.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To File For Divorce
1. What are the grounds for divorce?
Grounds for divorce vary by jurisdiction but commonly include reasons such as adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or irreconcilable differences.
2. How do I initiate the divorce process?
Typically, you start by filing a petition for divorce with the appropriate court in your jurisdiction. The specific forms and procedures may vary, so it’s advisable to consult with an attorney or check your local court’s website for guidance.
3. Do I need a lawyer to file for divorce?
While it’s not mandatory, having legal representation can be beneficial, especially if the divorce involves complex issues such as property division, child custody, or spousal support. It’s recommended to consult with a lawyer to understand your rights and options.
4. How long does the divorce process take?
The duration varies based on factors such as the complexity of the case, jurisdiction, and whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. It can range from a few months to several years.
5. What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on all issues, making the process quicker and less expensive. In a contested divorce, spouses disagree on one or more issues, requiring court intervention to resolve disputes.
6. How is property divided in a divorce?
Property division laws vary by jurisdiction. In some places, marital assets are divided equitably, while in others, they may be split equally. It’s essential to understand the specific laws in your jurisdiction or consult with a legal professional.
7. How is child custody determined?
Child custody decisions prioritize the best interests of the child. Factors considered include each parent’s ability to provide a stable environment, the child’s relationship with each parent, and the child’s age and preferences.
8. Do I need to attend court hearings?
It depends on the nature of your case. In uncontested divorces, you may not need to attend court hearings. In contested divorces, court appearances may be necessary, especially for issues like child custody or property division.
9. How much does a divorce cost?
The cost of divorce varies widely based on factors such as legal fees, court costs, and the complexity of the case. Uncontested divorces tend to be less expensive than contested ones. Legal consultation fees should also be considered.
10. Can I change my name after divorce?
In many jurisdictions, you can request a name change as part of the divorce proceedings. If not, you may need to follow a separate legal process to change your name.