North Carolina and the Divorce Process

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The divorce process is an important procedure in each state, and in North Carolina, citizens should understand what is necessary and how to proceed with the situation. Going through child custody, visitation and spousal support are all crucial for the divorcing couple as well as any divided property, assets and liabilities.

Even if a divorce is not as difficult when the spouses agree to many stipulations, it is still important to consult with a lawyer for various services. The process is complex and may lead to personal matters and financial issues that require legal assistance. North Carolina has a no-fault divorce procedure that presents both parties with no need to prove that someone caused the end of the marriage. Dissolving the relationship is easier when that step’s removal is already part of the proceedings. Additionally, the state does permit divorces to occur without legal help. However, this is not recommended when there are multiple matters to process through.

Getting a Divorce in North Carolina

The first step usually involves the physical or geographical separation of the two parties. They do not live together after the relationship comes to this point. However, a divorce from bed and board is necessary for the separation in North Carolina to be legal. Many grounds used to file for separation are possible such as consumption of drugs, adultery issues and malicious treatment. While legally separated couples may not remarry during this process, they are able to acquire alimony, divide assets, consider custody and support for children and similar actions through the standard legal channels. It is often important to hire a lawyer for any or all of these needs.

Filing for a Divorce

Once the divorce is definitely going to occur and the couple has moved passed the separation, it is important for the parties to contact a local county clerk of the court. A divorce complaint requires filling, and it needs completion in the county where the couple reside. However, a divorce lawyer may file this for the individual. A county sheriff’s office processes the complaint and serves the other spouse with the divorce papers. However, the usual occurrence with the documentation happens through certified mail. The divorce filing needs at least twelve months of consecutive separate living. Then either spouse has the option to file for legal divorce proceedings.

If the separation is not permanent, any moving back in together for any period of time will reset the year of separation necessary for divorce proceedings. Any new split will need another twelve months of both parties living apart. When filing for divorce is possible, other factors become important such as the child and spousal support, custody and dividing of assets. Before a divorce goes to the courts, custody and visitation arrangements should exist between husband and wife so the relationship dissolution is less messy. A divorce lawyer may assist with the transition and the agreement between spouses for various matters.

Legal Options in North Carolina

When both parties are agreeable and find that the divorce may become a peaceful process, it is possible to seek mediation. This would provide the best opportunity to avoid a costly and lengthy process. Open communication may lead to an agreement between spouses for support, custody and asset and liability divisions. By avoiding the public court, mediation may ensure a loose or binding outcome with these divorce concerns. It is less formal, and each party may meet when most convenient for him or her. Lawyers become advisors during this process and may explain details or offer recommendations.

If the divorce needs to go before a judge, he or she will hear testimony and review the facts of the case before issuing a final divorce judgment. This involves what the judge feels is best for each party in all matters to include custody. The judgment is final for each specific case. For a new or modified judgment based on new information and details of the situation, the couple must start over. The signing of paperwork will finalize the divorce and separate the two legally in all matters. This will include insurance, retirement, custody and other concerns.

Legal Support for Divorce in North Carolina

When the couple seeks a divorce, a lawyer is usually necessary. Even if only utilized for mediation, the legal representative may offer advice and information on how to proceed. During a court case, the lawyer becomes a lifeline to protect the rights of the individual parent or spouse for all issues.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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