Filing for divorce in North Carolina requires several steps and an understanding of the laws Therefore, attempting to file for divorce without being represented by Raleigh divorce lawyers could end poorly.

North Carolina Divorce Requirements

There are several requirements for filing for divorce in North Carolina. First, the filing party must have lived in the state for at least six months before they can initiate divorce proceedings. Furthermore, both parties must have been legally separated for at least one year and one day.

If both of these conditions are met, the party requesting a divorce must file a complaint with the court (paying the court filing fee unless indigent), serve their spouse with that complaint and file an affidavit that their spouse is not an active-duty military member.

Types of Divorce and Separation in North Carolina

North Carolina differentiates between divorce and separation. There’s only one type of divorce and two types of separation:

  • Legal separation. Legal separation occurs when both parties live in separate locations, and at least one party intends for the separation to be permanent.
  • Divorce From Bed and Board. Despite the confusing name, this is a type of separation, not divorce. Specifically, it’s a court-ordered separation due to serious fault by the other party, like abuse or adultery.
  • Absolute divorce. This is the only type of divorce in North Carolina. The only grounds or reason available are separation of one year or incurable insanity.

Child Custody, Support and Visitation in North Carolina

The child must have lived in North Carolina for six months before child custody can be determined. The court determines legal custody (who has the right to make decisions for the child) and physical custody (how the child’s time is shared by the parents).

Parents are responsible for financially supporting their minor children. Child support is determined by the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The state has an online child support calculator that can be used to determine the amount of support.

Property Division in North Carolina

North Carolina divides marital property using equitable division. Judges assume that a 50/50 split is equitable but consider factors such as the parties’ incomes, property, age, health, length of the marriage and more when deciding.

Filing and Serving Your Divorce Papers

The filing party must serve their spouse with divorce papers before a judge can hear the case. These documents must be served by a North Carolina sheriff or via certified mail, UPS or FedEx.

Finalizing Your Divorce

Once the judge issues the divorce decree, the process is complete. There’s no waiting period after the decree is issued, and either party can revert to their previous surname if desired.

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Last Update: July 9, 2024

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