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No one ever said that getting divorced was easy, but it can be much less complicated if you know about the different types of divorce. You may have heard the terms: collaborative divorce, no-fault divorce, uncontested divorce, divorce from bed and board, and absolute divorce. Keep reading to learn more about the types of divorce in North Carolina, and prepare to take your next steps! 

What is a No-Fault Absolute Divorce?

Types of divorce in North Carolina include a no-fault absolute divorce. This is what you think of when someone says they just went through a divorce.

In NC, you can get a no-fault absolute divorce, which means that you don’t need to prove that someone caused the problems leading to your divorce. If you have irreconcilable differences that do not work for marriage, you can divorce your spouse without blaming each other for the marriage’s failure. Keeping the focus off blame and working together to settle your differences can make your divorce more straightforward and less expensive.

You can go this route even if you feel like the other spouse was more “at-fault” than you. It is not necessary for your spouse to agree to the divorce either.

In North Carolina, getting a divorce (in the sense that most of us use that term) is always called an “absolute divorce.” This term means that you are no longer married and are free to date or live your life as a single person. 

Before filing for an uncontested divorce, you must meet these criteria:

  • One of you has lived in NC for at least 6 months
  • You do not want alimony or spousal support, or you can agree upon the amounts
  • You do not need a court-ordered division of property
  • Your separation from your spouse was at least 1 year long

When you can’t agree to the terms of your divorce, you may negotiate with your spouse through your attorneys. If you reach a point where you can’t find an agreement, you can also take the case to court for a judge to decide.

What is a “Divorce” from Bed and Board?

Even though a Divorce from bed and board is called a “divorce,” it is not an actual type of divorce in North Carolina. If you need to prove fault in your marriage to negotiate for living separately or other issues while separated, you may consider a “divorce” from bed and board (DBB). A DBB is a way to go through the process of proving fault in court during your separation period before getting an absolute divorce.

A DBB is not an absolute divorce. Instead, a DBB is a legal separation decree in which one spouse accuses the other of egregious behavior contributing to a need for divorce. 

Courts grant DBBs if your spouse:

  • Abandons you and any children without intent to return and without letting you know
  • Leaves you and any children without any legal justification or excuse
  • Maliciously turns you out of doors
  • Acts with cruel or inhuman treatment endangering your life (or your children’s lives). In addition, the court may grant you remedies available under G.S. 50B-1.
  • Causes your life condition to feel intolerable and burdensome.
  • Is an excessive user of alcohol or drugs causing your life to feel intolerable and burdensome.
  • Commits adultery. (1)

Once you obtain a DBB order, your separation period starts. After the one-year required separation, you may file for an absolute divorce to legally end the marriage.

What is Uncontested Divorce?

If you want a divorce, but your spouse does not, they may stonewall. When one spouse refuses to participate in any of the divorce process, including negotiating terms of the divorce, and they don’t show up in court for the divorce decree, the judge will declare an uncontested divorce and determine the terms of the divorce without their input.

An uncontested divorce is not something you plan. The spouse who refuses to participate loses out on negotiating for their rights. If you don’t participate, you lose your right to say anything about how the court determines:

  • child support
  • child visitation or custody
  • alimony
  • equitable distribution of assets

Whether you agree to a divorce or not, the court will grant a divorce to your spouse if they want one. North Carolina does not force individuals to stay married when they want out.

What is Collaborative Divorce? How Does it Work?

Collaborative divorce is a type of absolute divorce that includes alternative dispute resolution. Instead of heading to the courtroom to let a judge work out the details of your divorce terms, you work with your attorney. Sometimes other professionals, such as a mediator, also help as you negotiate with your spouse to iron out an agreement that works for both of you.

The benefits of collaborative divorce include having more control over the outcome of your divorce, saving time and money, and reducing stress. If you and your spouse can communicate and work together, collaborative divorce may be a good option for you.

An experienced divorce and family law attorney can help you through every step of the collaborative divorce process, from finding an appropriate professional team to working out a fair settlement for both parties.

We Can Help

Now that you know about the different types of divorce in North Carolina, you can feel more confident taking your next steps. At Plekan Law, we take a personalized and hands-on approach to divorce negotiations. Our goal is always to find a workable agreement with your ex so you can move forward with your life and leave the drama behind!

We understand the collaborative divorce process and want to help you find the most straightforward way through your separation and divorce. However, if you need to fight for your rights in the courtroom, we are with you every step!

Contact us today and find out how we can help you get started working out your future.

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