How Long Does Divorce Take in NC?

Sometimes, you want to proceed through the divorce process as quickly as possible. For many, they want to move on with their lives and don’t want to attend numerous hearings and legal proceedings. But how long does divorce take in NC? Let’s examine a few factors that could influence the speed of the divorce process in the Tar Heel State. 

Is There a Separation Period?

Unfortunately, there is no fast track to a divorce in the state. Before any spouse can file for a divorce, there needs to be a separation period. Under the law, couples must observe a 12-month separation period. During this time, they must live separately. 

What does that mean? 

For the couple to be considered separated, they must live in separate residences. For example, they cannot share a house or rent out one room to the other. 

Along with that, there needs to be an intention for the separation to be permanent. Both parties should have no plans for reconciliation and must remain committed to living a life away from the other spouse. 

During this time, the couple may want to think about drawing up a formal separation agreement. While it is not required under the law, it can help speed up the process when it comes to spousal support, child custody, and property division. 

After the Mandated Separation Period

Once the 12-month period is over, one of the spouses can start the divorce process. However, this party (the plaintiff) must meet a few requirements. They must:

  • Be a current resident of North Carolina
  • Have lived in the state for at least six months

In a case where the plaintiff has just moved to the state, they will need to wait six months until they can legally file for a divorce. When those requirements have been met, then the spouse can file for a divorce in North Carolina. 

Does that mean the divorce will be automatically granted? 

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to wait a few more months for the process to be finalized. 

Uncontested Divorces

If both spouses agree on child custody and support, property division, and spousal support, then the path to a divorce can be easier and quicker. In most cases, these cases can be resolved in around 45 to 90 days. 

Since there is no need to attend multiple hearings, the process just needs to follow a few legalities, such as drafting an agreement and signing off on the paperwork. 

Unfortunately, not all divorce cases can be settled without going to court. In these situations, the divorce is contested, which could lead to a lengthy process. 

Contested Divorces

Disagreements about the division of assets, child custody, spousal support, and any other issues could take several months (or even years) to resolve. During this time, there may be several rounds of negotiations, court hearings, and other legal proceedings before the divorce can be finalized. 

This process is more complex and time-consuming compared to an uncontested divorce. In many cases, if the two parties cannot reach an amicable agreement, then the courts will need to step in and resolve those issues. 

Finalization of the Divorce

Once all matters are resolved , the court issues a divorce decree, officially ending the marriage. Along with formally terminating the union, the document outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party after the divorce. After this decree is issued, both parties are legally bound to adhere to its terms.

Learn More About the Divorce Process

How long does it take for a divorce in NC? There is no quick solution. At the very minimum, you may have to wait at least one year to file the paperwork. After that, the speed of the process will depend on whether you and your spouse agree to the important terms of the divorce. 

If you would like to learn more about the divorce process, contact the experienced legal team at the Stephen E. Robertson Law Office. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your case. You can set up an appointment by calling 336-370-6760.