Making the decision to end your marriage is never easy. Understanding the state’s specific requirements and legal procedures is important if you’re contemplating a divorce in North Carolina. You need to take some key steps and prerequisites to obtain a divorce in the Tar Heel State.
One of the first requirements is meeting the residency criterion. Either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. With that, the state has jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings, and North Carolina laws apply to your case.
The Importance of Separation
Since North Carolina is considered a “no-fault” divorce state, spouses do not need to establish any grounds for a divorce. However, there does need to be a period of separation. With that, both spouses must have lived apart for a continuous period of one year.
Additionally, living apart must be done with the intention of ending the marriage. At this stage, the couple should avoid any activities interpreted as reconciliation, such as cohabiting or resuming marital relations.
Filing the Divorce Complaint
At this point, the divorce process can begin with filing a complaint. The legal document will outline the specifics of the divorce, along with addressing other issues, such as child cursory and support, alimony, and property divisions. This document will be the legal basis for the divorce proceedings.
Serving the Complaint
After the divorce complaint is filed, it must be served on the other spouse. With this, the spouse will formally receive a copy of the complaint with a summons. A process server will deliver the document to the other party, ensuring that they are aware of the legal action. This party will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
The Waiting Period
Along with the separation period, there is another waiting period. After the divorce complaint has been served, there is a one-year waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. This time ensures that the couple is separated and allows them the time to assess their decision and ensure a resolution to the process.
Consent and Agreement
When both spouses come to an agreement on child support, custody, and property division, their legal team can draft a separation agreement. In this agreement, the terms and conditions for the divorce are outlined. When the agreement is filed with the court, it can expedite the process.
If there are any unresolved issues, the court may need to step in to address these matters. Both parties will need to present their arguments and evidence to the court. In most situations, the court will make a decision that brings an equitable outcome to both parties.
The court will enter a divorce judgment after completing the one-year separation period and resolving all issues. Officially, the judgment terminates the marriage and establishes the legal status of the parties as divorced.
Reach Out to Our North Carolina Divorce Attorneys
Navigating divorce is a significant life event that demands attention to detail and adherence to state laws. Enlisting the help of an experienced family law lawyer is necessary to ensure a smoother divorce process.
If you would like to learn about the divorce process in North Carolina, Stephen E. Robertson Law Office is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your case. Call us at 336-370-6760.