Divorce in North Carolina
Generally, in the state of North Carolina, a divorce (which is also referred to as an "absolute" divorce) can be sought by either party once he or she has lived in the state for a period of at least six months, and has lived separate and apart from each other for at least 12 successive months. It is important to note that during that 12-month separation, you cannot have resumed your marital relationship. If you employ the services of a Cary divorce lawyer, he or she will also advise you that you do not have to provide any written documentation to prove that you separated on a particular date; but, you will need to accurately recall the date on which you actually separated. Additionally, at the time of your separation, you need make sure that at least one of you intended for the separation to be permanent.
North Carolina, like many other states, has eliminated "fault" as a basis for divorce. This was done mainly to lower the amount of harm that husbands and wives (and children, if any) suffer due to the divorce process. However, fault can be taken into account in certain instances, such as when the judge considers the award of alimony and determines custody issues.
Any Raleigh divorce lawyer can tell you that every divorce is unique and as such, settlements can vary from case to case. Even though fault is generally not an issue, the division of property and assets, as well as the responsibility for support, might become hotly-debated topics when trying to reach a settlement. The entry of the absolute divorce decree completely terminates your rights to seek post-separation support, alimony, and equitable distribution of marital property, unless these claims are properly filed with the court prior to the entry of the divorce decree. If a divorce complaint has already been filed by your spouse, it is equally important that you bring any claims for post-separation support, alimony or equitable distribution of the marital property prior to the time that your spouse is able to obtain the entry of the divorce with the court. The legal process for getting a divorce typically involves issues of spousal support, child custody and support, distribution of the property of the marriage, and the division of marital debts. These matters are not generally heard at the same time that the claim for absolute divorce is heard by the presiding judge. Oftentimes these matters can be settled outside of court, by private agreement, prior to the entry of the absolute divorce. You should be sure that you understand all of your rights and the legal process prior to filing for divorce, particularly with regard to spousal support and division of the marital property and debts.North Carolina also has an alternative, 3-year separation period for divorces that are based on one spouse’s incurable insanity; however, very few of the divorces in the state involve that issue. When you’re ready to discuss your matter, we’re here to give family law advice and counsel. Contacting us is easy. Simply give us a call or use the contact form to your left to setup your initial consultation.