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Filing For Divorce In Nc

What Are The Grounds For Divorce In North Carolina

How to File For Divorce in North Carolina

North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. This means that marital misconduct – adultery, desertion, physical or mental abuse, drug addiction, and habitual drunkenness – is not considered relevant when filing for a divorce in the state. However, misconduct may be used as evidence in a divorce trial that may help the proceedings pan out in your favor.

To file for a divorce, one of the two parties has to reside in the state of North Carolina for at least six months before filing.

One of the parties also has to file a complaint with the District Court either by personal service or registered mail. The most difficult part of filling for a divorce can be determining all issues that need to be resolved, such as:

  • How property/assets will be divided

What Are The Grounds For Divorce In Nc Your Guide

In Family by Greensboro AttorneyOctober 25, 2022

The decision to file for divorce is an unfortunate one. No one enters a marriage wishing it will end up in divorce. However, if you have decided it is the best course for your marriage, it might fill you with questions about what to do next. There are many uncertainties and stresses ahead for you ensure you are informed about the grounds for divorce in NC and the process that will follow.

How To Get Divorced Without Going To Court

Obtaining a simple divorce in North Carolina can be accomplished without making an actual appearance before a Judge. In most cases you will need a Divorce Attorney to represent you in order to avoid a court appearance, however hiring a Divorce Lawyer to obtain a simple divorce is not terribly expensive, usually between $800.00 and $1500.00.

There are two methods for obtaining a divorce without making a court appearance:

  • a Divorce by Summary Judgment or
  • a Divorce before the Clerk
  • Read Also: How Much Does An Amicable Divorce Cost

    Testimony And The Judges Final Divorce Order

    A family law judge will have the final say over your divorce. In an amicable divorce with a settlement agreement in hand, the judge need only review the paperwork, have each of you attest to your agreement with the various statements, and pronounce you divorced.

    In a contentious divorce, each side presents their argument for each issue under oath, as well as any other evidence or testimony, and the judge decides each contested issue.

    The judge will listen to both parties and their lawyers and in the end, will make decisions according to North Carolina law and what the court believes is best for each party and any children involved. If the judge decides property or possessions must be sold to ensure an equitable distribution of marital assets, the judges decision is final.

    A judges final divorce order carries the weight of law and ends any further negotiations for terms of a divorce. Any settlement agreement would be incorporated into the judges order. If any party to a divorce decree violates its terms, he or she can be held in contempt of court and potentially sanctioned. However, any terms pertaining to child custody and child support can be modified whenever a court finds that they do not serve the best interest of the child.

    What Other Issues Will I Need To Address During My Divorce Case

    How To File For Divorce Yourself In Nc : Printable Online North ...

    The claim for divorce is only one of five possible claims that arise out of a separation. The other four issues are: alimony/spousal support, equitable distribution , child custody, and child support. Not all of these other claims will necessarily apply to your situation.

    RELATED: What To Do When The Other Parent Wont Pay Child Support

    Also Check: Who Is Entitled To Alimony

    What Are The Reasons I Can Get An Annulment

    Although many people believe that an annulment is based on the length of the marriage, how long the couple has been married is not the determining factor about whether or not a spouse can get an annulment.

    In North Carolina, a marriage can be annulled when:

    • spouses are related more closely than first cousins, such as a marriage between siblings
    • spouses are double first cousins, which means that two brothers married two sisters and they each had children those children are double first cousins
    • one of the spouses was under 16 years of age at the time of the marriage
    • one of the spouses was legally married at the time of the current marriage
    • either one of the spouses was physically impotent at the time of the marriage or
    • one of the spouses was incompetent or incapable of consenting to the marriage.1

    1 N.C.G.S. § 51-3

    Why File For Divorce In Another State

    There are a couple of reasons why a spouse may file for divorce in another state. In most cases, a spouse files for divorce in the state they are living because that is where they can file for divorce. However, in some cases, a spouse may move to another state for the purposes of taking advantage of that state’s divorce laws.

    Each state has different laws on divorce. This includes differences in how the state and the courts handle all aspects of a divorce, including:

    • Residency Requirements

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    Do I Have To Go To Court For An Nc Divorce

    It depends. In some counties in North Carolina, there is the opportunity to get divorced without going to court. In Mecklenburg County, for example, as long as all the procedures have been met , you do not have to show up for court.

    In other counties, the court takes the testimony of at least one of the parties to determine whether an Absolute Divorce is appropriate.

    Related Article: Why It Pays To Settle Your Divorce Out Of Court

    Filing The Complaint In Court

    How to File for Divorce in Cary, North Carolina

    The complaint is filed with the court clerk’s office in the district court division. The documents include:

    • Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet
    • Servicemember Civil Relief Act Affidavit

    To file the documents, take the original and two copies of the documents and the filing fee to the Civil Clerk’s office in the court. The forms must be properly notarized by a Notary Public. The Clerk may then provide a Certificate of Absolute Divorce, which must be completed and returned to the Clerk so it will be in your court file. You can also make a copy of the Certificate for your records.

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    Divorce Before The Clerk

    Many jurisdictions allow what is commonly referred to as a “Divorce before the Clerk.” This type of divorce is similar to a “default judgment” or “judgment on the pleadings” as provided for in the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, and it is entered by the Clerk of Court as opposed to a District Court Judge.

    Divorce Process In North Carolina

    If you are considering filing for a divorce in North Carolina, it can be helpful to understand the process beforehand so that you know what to expect. A divorce can be relatively straightforward or complex, depending on the circumstances. Most divorces require the couple to sort out a number of issues, including:

    If the couple can agree on these issues in a divorce, the process can go forward relatively quickly. However, if there are disputes, the divorce could take much longer to be finalized. Talk to us about the process for filing for a divorce and how to make the divorce process as painless as possible for you and your children.

    Recommended Reading: Filing For Divorce In Orange County

    Grounds For Divorce In North Carolina

    North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. This means that the only thing you have to do to get a divorce in the Tar Heel State is meet the requirement of living separately for a year. You do not have to give a reason for wanting a divorce.

    Fault matters in some limited instances, though. These instances are known as divorces from bed and board, which allow for a court-ordered separation before the absolute divorce is finalized. It can also result in the at-fault party losing some rights, including estate rights. There are six cases in which the judge will consider a divorce from bed and board:

    • Forced departure from your residence
    • Humiliation to the point life is not tolerable
    • Treatment that is cruel and endangering
    • Substance abuse issues

    Serving Your Spouse In North Carolina

    free printable divorce papers for north carolina free

    Once you file the paperwork, you will need to provide notice of the divorce to your spouse. You can’t serve the papers on your spouse yourselfsomeone who is not involved in the case and who is over the age of 18 must serve the papers. You can use one of the following methods of service:

    • Service by sheriff. This is the most straightforward method of service in North Carolina, and it costs $30. In some courts, you can pay the fee to the court clerk at the same time you file your Complaint, and the clerk will provide the sheriff with the paperwork to serve on your spouse. In other courts, you might have to deliver the fee and paperwork to the sheriff yourself.
    • Service by certified mail. You can serve your spouse by sending the paperwork by certified mail with a return receipt requested. After the post office delivers the paperwork, you’ll receive a receipt that provides proof that your spouse was served. File an Affidavit of Service along with the receipt with the court.
    • Waiver of service. If your spouse is cooperative, you can mail the papers along with an Acceptance of Service form. Your spouse will need to sign the Acceptance of Service in front of a notary, and the signed and notarized form must be filed with the court.
    • Service by publication. If you don’t know where your spouse is, ask the court or clerk if you can serve “by publication.” In most cases, this means placing a notice about the pending divorce in a newspaper.

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    Residency Requirements In North Carolina

    From zero to 365, residency requirements vary widely from state to state. In order to file for divorce in North Carolina, either spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months. Spouses must have also been separated for at least one year. This means both spouses were living in different homes and at least one intended for the separation to be permanent. Because North Carolina doesnt require divorcing couples to file for separation, a truthful testimony under oath is all thats required to prove your separation.

    Can I File For A Divorce Online In North Carolina

    There are several firms and private family law attorneys who can assist you in completing the forms you will need to file for your Absolute Divorce in North Carolina. Many times, this can either be done online, or by trading emails to complete the documentation. This can save time and money, especially in an uncontested divorce where both parties are in agreement about all of the issues surrounding the action.

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    Recommended Reading: How To File For Divorce In Florida For Free

    Divorce Without A Lawyer In North Carolina

    Since North Carolina does not require couples seeking a divorce to hire attorneys, residents of this state have the opportunity to pursue an uncontested divorce without legal assistance. This option is highly advisable for couples who want to save money on attorney’s fees, as local lawyers charge between $230 and $280 per hour. In total, the cost of a traditional divorce process with an attorney can reach up to $3,000-5,000 for uncontested cases and $9,000-12,000 for contested ones.

    Still, to prepare divorce paperwork without mistakes and in time, spouses should have a solid legal background. If you have poor knowledge of Family Law, you might experience considerable difficulties when preparing necessary filings.

    To make sure legal forms are completed according to local laws and requirements, you can use Diovrce.com services. With the help of this platform, you will be able to select and fill out divorce papers from anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace.

    In just 2 business days, you can download completed documents, along with a step-by-step filing guide, sign them, and initiate divorce.


    Filing The First Paperwork

    Top 10 Things You Should Do Before Filing for Divorce in North Carolina

    Filing a divorce petition requires several steps. The first step you will need to take is the preparation of the necessary paperwork, which can be acquired from your local family law clerk’s office or online.

    These forms are called “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”. The forms require that you provide basic information including your name and address as well as the name and address of your spouse.

    The forms will also ask whether you have children with your spouse, which is important if child custody issues are to be included in the divorce proceedings. The forms ask about other areas of interest, including insurance coverage for one or both spouses, health care coverage, spousal support , division of personal property, attorney fees, and other issues that may be important to the divorce proceedings.

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    Divorce And Estate Planning In North Carolina

    Estate planning after a divorce is very important. If you and your spouse split up, youll need to update your life insurance policy, retirement accounts, investment accounts and trusts. Youll want to select a new beneficiary if youd named your spouse. Additionally, youll want to shift durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney to a different trusted relative, perhaps a parent, sibling or adult child. By doing that, your ex-spouse will no longer have the ability to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

    It is also important to take this time to adjust your instructions for childcare in the event both you and your spouse were to die. Before the divorce, you may have agreed on who would take over for you in raising your children, but now everything has changed. Make sure you and your ex-spouse come to an agreement on an arrangement that is best for your children.

    Filing Your Uncontested Divorce Paperwork

    You will need to file your divorce paperwork with the clerk of the court in the county in which you or your spouse lives.

    Along with filing the right paperwork, you’ll have to pay court filing fees to begin your divorce. As of 2022, the filing fees for an absolute divorce in North Carolina total $225.

    If you can’t afford to pay the filing fees, you can ask the court or a waiver. To request a fee waiver, file a Petition to Proceed as an Indigent. If the court grants the petition, you won’t have to pay any court filing fees or a service of process fee to the sheriff . File your Petition to Proceed as an Indigent at the same time you file your complaint.

    Read Also: Both Names On Car Title Divorce

    How Much Does An Uncontested Divorce Cost

    When you file your forms, you will also pay a filing fee of $225. If you want to resume using your maiden name, there will be an additional $10 youll have to pay. You will also need to pay $30 to have the Sheriff serve the defendant or $7 to serve the defendant by certified mail.

    If you cant afford to pay the fees, you can request a fee waiver by filing a Petition to Proceed as an Indigent and submit your request to the court.

    The Clerk of Court may require you to show proof that you cannot afford the fee, but the Clerk is supposed to waive the fee upon a reasonable showing. Make sure you sign the petition in the presence of a Notary Public and have the form notarized. Also, be aware that you could be in contempt of court if you give false information on this form.

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    How Much Does A Divorce Lawyer Cost In North Carolina

    Lawyers are generally paid by the hour at $100 to $300 per hour. It typically takes a handful of hours to determine each item, such as:

    • How to divide debts
    • How much child support will be
    • Who gets custody
    • How much spousal support you need

    Once decided, your attorney will write up the final separation agreement, and all parties will sign it. If you can come to agreements quickly, then you will save money. If you need to go to court, you will pay more.

    However, do not just give in on property or financial support you really want. An attorney or mediator works to make sure your side is heard. Your attorney can use numerous tactics to help you come to a fair agreement.

    Your attorney’s experience can determine how long your case takes, and you can always decide to let something go after it has gone back and forth a few times. You are the client, so you get to choose how much you are willing to spend on the negotiation phase, and whether your case goes to court.

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