When considering a divorce in North Carolina, it is essential to understand the absolute divorce process, the only way to obtain an actual divorce in this state. You must meet specific requirements to qualify for an absolute divorce in NC. Let’s look at absolute divorce and how it works in North Carolina.
What is an Absolute Divorce in North Carolina?
If you live in North Carolina, you may wonder exactly what an absolute divorce is. It is simply the name for a final divorce in this state. Sometimes called a Simple Divorce, an absolute divorce is “no-fault,” meaning you don’t need to prove that the other spouse’s behavior is the reason for your divorce.
There is also a type of separation called a “Divorce from Bed and Board.” However, this is not an actual final divorce. It is a way that some couples work out separation issues in a judicial setting before the absolute divorce is final.
In NC, before you can get a divorce, you must meet specific requirements, including:
- One of you has lived in NC for at least 6 months as a resident of NC
- You and your spouse have lived separated from each other for at least 1 year with the intention of remaining apart permanently. Living separate and apart requires the spouses to live in separate residences.
Don’t Lose Your Marital Rights
Filing a claim for an absolute divorce does not address the issues related to your legal marriage. Your rights matter and you may lose your chance if you don’t fight for them now. Your family law attorney can ensure your rights to:
- Marital property
- Child custody
- Child support
- Post-separation support
You must file for these issues now, during separation, or you can lose some of your rights. Before obtaining a divorce, it is crucial to preserve any financial support you may need.
If you go ahead and file for divorce without settling the above issues and the judge grants an absolute divorce, you no longer have the right to claim marriage-related rights. You essentially waive your future right to alimony or marital property.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina?
If you can find an agreement with your spouse on all issues before filing your divorce papers, you may file an uncontested divorce. Working with an attorney to negotiate an agreement can help you file for an uncontested divorce.
Uncontested divorces have many benefits, one of which is that they tend to cost less. Settling arrangements with your spouse out of court means that you and your spouse make the final agreement with help from your attorney. There is no courtroom battle over how your divorce will work. An attorney specializing in uncontested divorce makes the process easier for you.
What If Uncontested Divorce Won’t Work With My Spouse?
If you know an agreement will not come together with your spouse, you need an attorney to protect your rights before dissolving your marriage. Finding an experienced family law attorney can help you make your case during separation.
If spouses cannot agree, an uncontested divorce is not possible. However, with an experienced family law attorney walking you through the steps of your divorce, you can ensure the protection of your rights throughout the entire process.
How to File for An Absolute Divorce
Whether you and your spouse can find an agreement together and file for an uncontested divorce or not, only one spouse makes the filing for the divorce.
The spouse who files for divorce will need these forms in NC:
- Complaint For Absolute Divorce
- Domestic Court Civil Action Cover Sheet – Form AOC-CV-750
- Civil Summons – Form AOC-CV-100
- Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Affidavit – Form AOC-G-250
If you do not have the funds to pay for a divorce, you can file for the court to pay your fees.
Because filing the forms and serving them can become complicated, working with an attorney specializing in divorce can ensure you file everything correctly.
Before you file for an absolute (simple) divorce, be sure to speak with an attorney so that you understand your rights regarding marital property, alimony, and post-separation support. Failing to file for your rights now means losing your marital rights for the rest of your life.
We Can Help
At Plekan Law, we understand what you are going through and can help you protect your rights during this difficult time. We have experience with uncontested divorces as well as more complicated cases. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.