divorce couple

Do You Have to Wait a Year to Divorce in North Carolina?

Many couples want to end a marriage as quickly as possible. North Carolina has a waiting period before a divorce can be dissolved. While it’s true that North Carolina recognizes a one-year separation as one of the grounds for divorce, the good news is that you don’t always have to wait a whole year to legally end your marriage. 

Let’s look at the divorce timelines in North Carolina and clear up any misconceptions surrounding the one-year waiting period.

Ways to Get a Divorce in North Carolina

Do you have to wait a year to divorce in North Carolina? The answer depends on the situation. In the state, you can end a marriage in two ways: through an absolute divorce or a divorce from bed and board.

Absolute Divorce

An absolute divorce is the traditional way of getting a divorce. This legal process will completely end the union. North Carolina couples can use several grounds to seek an absolute divorce. In many cases, the one-year separation is the grounds for these cases.

With that, you and your spouse must have lived apart for an entire year. During this time, both partners need a separate residence and must not have resumed any part of the marital relationship. The year waiting period shows the court that the marriage is irrevocably broken and cannot be reconciled.

While the state does consider this separation as one ground of a divorce, it is not the only one. Incurable insanity and imprisonment are some of the other grounds for a divorce. If you can establish a case on those grounds, you do not need to wait a year. 

Divorce from Bed and Board 

Divorce from bed and board is a little different. This is often called a limited divorce, which is more of a separation instead of an actual divorce. While this process does not officially end the union, it does allow both spouses to live separate lives. Some couples use this as the first part of the divorce process.

This type of separation doesn’t have a one-year requirement. However, there are a few issues that this divorce can address, such as:

  • Spousal support
  • Property division
  • Child custody

An absolute divorce allows the parties to remarry. However, a divorce from bed and board does not terminate the marriage. Both spouses remain married in the eyes of the law, meaning that they cannot marry other individuals.

Why would someone choose this option? A divorce from bed and board can help when one spouse’s behavior has been detrimental to the other’s well-being. With this order, the victimized partner can seek protection through the legal process.

Do You Need to Wait a Year to Divorce in North Carolina ? 

The one-year separation period is a common path to obtaining an absolute divorce in North Carolina. However, it is not the only way to end a marriage. An absolute divorce can be established through other grounds, such as incurable insanity or imprisonment. Another option, divorce from bed and board, gives you a legal separation without waiting for a year.

If you would like to learn more about your divorce options, the attorneys at Stephen E. Robertson Law Office are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your case. You can set up an appointment by calling 336-370-6760 today.