Filing for divorce can be incredibly difficult. Dissolving a marriage can be emotionally challenging, making it challenging to handle the divorce process. Add in the legal complexity of divorce to the mix, and it's no wonder why so many people find dissolving their marriage a uniquely daunting task.
At Blood Law, PLLC, we have the tools to help you resolve your divorce with dignity and grace. Our Waxhaw divorce lawyers will walk you through the process, enabling you to approach your divorce with total confidence.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570.
What Are the Requirements to Divorce in North Carolina?
To file for a divorce in North Carolina, you:
- Must currently live in North Carolina;
- Must have lived in North Carolina for at least six months before filing for divorce; and
- Must have been separated from your partner for at least a year and one day.
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. That means that you can cite "irreconcilable differences" as grounds for your divorce, without needing to specify any specific behavior or actions that lead to the divorce. As long as you believe the marriage is irretrievably broken and divorce is in your best interests, you can file for divorce if you meet the requirements listed above.
If you file for a no-fault divorce in North Carolina, you need to be separated from your partner for at least a year and a day. To separate from your partner, you must both sign and notarize a separation agreement together and live in separate residences.
Separations typically contain terms for property division and spousal support, as well as child custody and support if you have children.
Separation can help two spouses negotiate over a long period of time (at least a year), giving them the opportunity to compromise on mutually beneficial terms for their divorce.
Of course, separation isn't an option in every marriage. Under some circumstances, you may want to file for divorce immediately. If your partner:
- Abandons your family;
- Forces you to leave with malintent;
- Treats you cruelly;
- Causes you indignities or makes your life intolerable;
- Has a substance abuse issue they refuse to address; or
- Commit adultery;
You can file for a divorce from bed and board. In a divorce from bed and board, both parties attend court. The injured party must present evidence backing up their claims against their spouse. If the judge rules in the injured party's favor, they will issue a judgment requiring the parties to live apart.
A divorce from bed and board is not a permanent measure. Even if you obtain a divorce from bed and board, you must still file for an absolute divorce. A divorce from bed and board serves to protect a spouse who is being treated badly by or cannot tolerate living with their partner.
How Do I File for Divorce in NC?
Filing for divorce in North Carolina can be somewhat complex. To file for a divorce, you must file the following documents with a clerk in the county you or your spouse resides in:
- The complaint. The complaint details the reasons you want the divorce. In the complaint, you can also detail how you want to divide property with your soon-to-be-ex, and file an alimony claim (if you want spousal support post-divorce).
- A summons. After you file for divorce, you can pay a fee to a third party (like the sheriff or a certified mail carrier) to deliver a copy of the summons to your spouse. The summons notifies your spouse of the divorce and gives them a chance to respond to the complaint.
- A Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet. This sheet contains more information for the court about your case.
- An affidavit. The affidavit allows you to specify whether your spouse is in the military.
- Court filing fees. Filing for divorce costs a fee. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can apply as an indigent. If your application is accepted, your fee will be waived.
If you want to make the divorce process faster, you can file for a "simple divorce." To file for a simple divorce, you must not include stipulations for property division or spousal support in your divorce complaint.
If you share children with your soon-to-be-ex, it's important to note that you must file a separate claim for child custody and support with the court. If you file for those claims, you can include that information on the Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet.
North Carolina uses equitable distribution laws for the property division process. While courts typically prefer an equal division of marital property between spouses, sometimes the court may decide that the parties should split properly unequally.
For example, if you file a custody claim and end up with sole custody of your children, the court may award you the marital home or more assets to make caring for the children easier.
Once you file for divorce, you need to schedule a divorce hearing with the court.
Courts typically resolve simple divorces quickly. However, if you did not file for a simple divorce (e.g. you included terms for property division and spousal support in your complaint), the process will probably take longer. Your attorney will have the opportunity to present evidence to the court supporting your complaint, and your spouse's attorney can combat those claims with evidence of their own. Eventually, the judge will determine how to handle the issues you raised with your complaint, after which they'll hand down a judgment and finalize the divorce.
If you're pursuing a divorce in North Carolina, having an experienced divorce attorney on your side is invaluable. Our Waxhaw divorce lawyers stand ready to protect your rights and help you pursue the optimal outcome in your divorce.
To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our services, contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570.
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With offices in Charlotte, Waxhaw, Lake Norman & Fort Mill, we make it easier for families across North Carolina & South Carolina to find quality counsel.
Children Come FirstWith the complexities of family law, we put the well-being and safety of your children at the forefront of your case.
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Anna Blood Founder and Managing Attorney
Olivia Lowery Senior Attorney
Allison Thomas Senior Attorney
Michael Mohun Associate Attorney
Rachael Beller Associate Attorney
Liz Whitaker Paralegal
Samantha Mishko Law Clerk
Savannah Langley Client Relations Coordinator
Susan Turner Client Account Manager
Helene Carras Executive Director
Tatum True Director of Communications
Jehan Al Rifaie Paralegal
Hailey Arico Legal Assistant/Intake Specialist
Casey Storch Paralegal