North Carolina Divorce Laws
7 Ways to Avoid the Pain & Expense of Divorce
- KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Talk with a North Carolina divorce lawyer experienced in divorce law. Ask him about the facts of your situation. Tell him what worries you and what you need the most.
- PROTECT YOUR MONEY AND YOUR CREDIT: Take appropriate measures to prevent your spouse from taking the money from joint accounts or making unnecessary credit charges. Set aside enough money to tide you over until property and support matters can be settled.
- CONSIDER COUNSELING FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN: A good counselor can help you sort out the complex emotions surrounding divorce. It will help you make wiser decisions. You can learn how to keep your children from being unnecessarily upset.
- INVESTIGATE YOUR FINANCES: It is important to know what you have and what you owe. Make copies of all financial records and keep them in a safe place or give them to your divorce lawyer. This can save you legal and accounting fees.
- AVOID ARGUMENTS WITH YOUR SPOUSE: If you cannot discuss matters calmly, wait until later or let your divorce lawyer do the negotiating. No one ever wins a domestic argument and it could get violent.
- FIND AN EXPERIENCED NC DIVORCE LAWYER YOU CAN TRUST: Confidence and trust are especially important in divorce matters. Make certain your lawyer is experienced in family law. Find a board certified specialist by calling the N.C. State Bar in Raleigh for the names of specialists in your area.
- KEEP YOUR CHILDREN WITH YOU: If you have been your children's primary caregiver, the children should remain with you. The court will award you child support to assist in caring for them.
Absolute Divorce in North CarolinaIn North Carolina absolute divorces are usually obtained based on one year's separation. After you and your spouse have lived separate continuously for one year, without resuming the marital relationship, either of you may obtain an absolute divorce. Attempts at reconciliation marked by isolated instances of sexual intercourse will not automatically end the period of continuous separation. However, instances of sexual intercourse and nights spent together may add to the totality of circumstances sufficient to cause a court to find that you have voluntarily renewed the marital relationship. Should a court so find, the twelve month clock will be reset.
The entry of an absolute divorce terminates your rights to post-separation support, alimony, and equitable distribution of marital property unless you have filed such a claim before the entry of an absolute divorce. If you go on with your divorce without asserting claims for alimony or equitable distribution, or if we do not assert such claims in responding to your spouse's divorce suit, it is because of your instructions to us that you do not want us to assert such claims. If you have any questions about this, please ask us immediately, and in all events before the entry of your absolute divorce. Also, if you have been married for 10 years or longer it may improve your Social Security retirement benefits. You may want to delay your divorce until after your tenth anniversary.
Change of Name
A wife may wish to resume her maiden name after a North Carolina divorce. This can be done at any time and it is not essential that the name change be part of the divorce judgement. If the wife requests the name change in the absolute divorce complaint or counterclaim, the name change will become part of the absolute divorce judgement.
Please see our page on COBRA during divorce for information on continued healthcare insurance.