Divorce & Separation in North Carolina
How can I get a divorce in North Carolina?
North Carolina law requires a one year separation before you can file for divorce. In addition, you or your spouse must be a legal North Carolina resident for at least six months before filing. If these criteria have been satisfied, you can file a lawsuit in District Court asking for a divorce. Because North Carolina is a no fault divorce state, a one year separation is the only requirement for obtaining a divorce.
In rare instances, a second option for divorce is available. North Carolina allows you to file for divorce if you have been legally separated for three years and believe that one spouse suffers from incurable insanity. This option is rarely used to obtain a divorce.
What is a legal separation?
If you and your spouse are living separate and apart with the intent of at least one of you that the separation be permanent, you are considered to be legally separated. North Carolina defines separate and apart as living in separate residences. If one spouse is sleeping on the couch or living in another part of the house, that does not qualify as living separate and apart. No paperwork or official filings are required to become legally separated.
What legal issues need to be resolved during a separation or divorce in North Carolina?
It is important for you and your spouse to address issues involving financial support (post-separation support, alimony, child support), children (child custody, visitation) and the equitable distribution of property. These issues can be addressed through a SEPARATION AGREEMENT AND PROPERTY SETTLEMENT, a written agreement that serves as a private contract between spouses, or a LAWSUIT. If both parties cannot reach an agreement, you may choose to file suit regarding any issue or issues that have not been resolved. An experienced attorney can help you assess your options.
You should always consult with an attorney prior to signing any document presented to you by your spouse or your spouse’s lawyer.
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