Discovering your husband wants a divorce can be an overwhelming and emotionally difficult experience. As you grapple with the reality of this situation, it’s essential to understand the legal aspects that come into play in North Carolina. When a husband wants divorce proceedings, he may already have a plan. So you’re left playing catchup, trying to normalize your emotions enough to understand what is happening.

Understanding the divorce laws specific to NC will help you navigate the process more effectively and empower you to make informed decisions for your future. In this blog post, we will explore the legal implications that matter for you going forward.

When Your Husband Wants a Divorce

You may have seen warning signs that your husband wants a divorce, or this could be a surprising slap in the face. Either way, significant changes are likely coming your way. You’ll need to consider your rights, whether you feel like it or not.

According to Forbes, “75% of individuals and couples cited lack of commitment as the reason for their divorce. This was the most common cause of a marriage ending, exceeding even infidelity.”

So, most divorces happen because of reasons that imply a lack of commitment to the relationship. Troubled marriages often involve behavior by one or both spouses thinking that no effort is needed in a marriage. Behaviors that imply the marriage is not essential include:

  • Won’t engage in a civil conversation
  • Doesn’t prioritize time together
  • Would rather spend time with friends than with your spouse
  • Won’t schedule time for a sex life
  • Doesn’t see the point in investing in the marital relationship
  • Has a friend of the opposite sex that they prioritize over their spouse for emotional support and connection
  • Higher focus on hobbies, a job, or other interests
  • Puts parents or other relatives before the spouse

Just because your husband says he wants divorce doesn’t mean you’re headed for divorce. Not all couples in trouble get a divorce. Perhaps your husband is asking for a divorce because he needs more attention from you or is facing a struggle such as depression. Sometimes couples therapy can make all the difference.

10 Things to Do During the Year-Long Legal Separation Period

In North Carolina, you must live separately and apart for one full year before you can apply for divorce. Most couples use this time to consider therapy or work out the many details of the divorce agreement.

Before beginning your separation journey, engage the services of a reputable family law and divorce attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and provide valuable advice based on your specific circumstances.

Every divorce case is unique, and it is essential to consult with professionals and take appropriate legal steps to ensure a fair and satisfactory outcome.

1- Marriage Counseling

During the separation period, couples often opt for marriage counseling as a way to explore the possibility of reconciliation and address underlying issues in the relationship. Seeking professional help can provide a safe space for open communication and potentially help rebuild the marital bond.

However, if your husband has no interest in counseling, contact an attorney focused on divorce law instead. You’ll need someone to advocate for your rights this year and during the divorce proceedings.

As a woman facing a husband who wants a divorce, you may not be the primary breadwinner. This means fighting for your rights with an experienced lawyer is especially crucial. And if you’ve been a homemaker for any length of time, you will need a way to survive for the foreseeable future.

2- Communication and Negotiation

Use this time to establish open lines of communication with your partner. It is essential to discuss important matters such as

  • Child custody, support, and visitation
  • Equitable division of assets
  • Financial arrangements such as post-separation spousal support and alimony

3- Explore Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods

Engage in constructive negotiations to reach mutually agreeable solutions. Even if you struggle to agree with your spouse, a mediation attorney can help you and your husband find mutually agreeable solutions.

Divorce mediation can help facilitate a more amicable and cooperative divorce process. Mediation can help you attain a collaborative divorce, reducing conflict and potentially saving time and money.

You may need less courtroom involvement when you and your spouse can agree on your necessary items before filing for divorce. An uncontested divorce is an easier and more inexpensive way to get a divorce in NC. It involves ensuring that neither of you has anything left to contest when you file for the final divorce papers.

However, if your husband does not work with you to discuss items fairly or calmly, let your divorce attorney do the talking moving forward. Your attorney can negotiate for you if your husband does not act cooperatively.

4- Parenting Plan including Child Support, Visitation, and Custody

If you have children, create a comprehensive parenting plan that outlines custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and decision-making responsibilities. This plan will serve as a framework for co-parenting during the separation period and after the divorce process.

If your husband threatens to take the kids or acts in inappropriate or abusive ways, talk with your family law attorney and find protection and safety for you and the children.

5- Financial Evaluation

Evaluate your financial situation individually and jointly. Consider consulting a financial advisor or accountant to assess assets, liabilities, and potential tax implications. It is crucial to understand your financial standing clearly to make informed decisions during the divorce proceedings.

6- Gather Documentation

Gather essential documents such as bank statements, tax returns, property titles, and investment portfolios. These documents will be necessary when determining asset division and can help streamline the divorce process.

Also, alimony amounts in North Carolina often depend on evidence of a spouse’s infidelity. If your husband asked for a divorce, it makes sense to check out their search history or text messages and save any proof of an affair. If you both work full time but neither of you is unfaithful, it is less likely you’ll receive alimony.

However, if you both work full time, but your husband is unfaithful, and you have proof, you may receive more money in spousal support. As a wife, you must have been faithful for this situation to work out in your favor.

7- Individual Counseling

Take care of your emotional well-being by seeking individual counseling or therapy. Divorce can be emotionally taxing, and having a support system in place can provide guidance and help you navigate the challenges effectively.

Counseling can also help you avoid angry or inappropriate behaviors that can bring criminal charges or even domestic violence charges ruining your life. Don’t let anger over an affair break your self-control. Keying your husband’s car or destroying his cell phone can bring up to 4 months in prison if you’re convicted of injury to property!

8- Self-Care

You may have grown used to looking out for your husband’s best interest. However, if he’s not interested in couples therapy and wants a divorce, it’s time to consider yourself. When he says he doesn’t want to fix things or work on your relationship together, hear him.

You may want to save the marriage, but if your husband wants a divorce, he can get one in NC.

If your husband tells you he wants a divorce and is firm on his decision, it’s time to remember your self-respect. Stay calm and say a healthy goodbye to your married life. Clinging behavior will not change things and may even make things worse. If you let a spouse manipulate you into giving up crucial marital rights, you’ll regret the behavior later on.

Other women who’ve been in your shoes often make positive statements about their struggles several years down the road. They often remember their divorce as one of the best things that happened in their lives.

Care for yourself by seeking out friends and family who care about you. Listen when they say you need to think about yourself more. Feed yourself healthy food, and make time for a long walk or a hot soak in the tub. Consider joining a divorce support group to find new friends in a similar situation.

Also, look at joining a new club or making new social connections. Join Bumble for new friends, or consider focusing on a new career and making new connections on LinkedIn. Whatever will make your heart happy, find ways to enjoy life despite the divorce.

9- Research and Understand North Carolina Divorce Laws

Familiarize yourself with the specific divorce laws in North Carolina. Understanding your rights, obligations, and the legal process will empower you to make informed decisions. Protect your interests throughout the divorce proceedings by bringing in a knowledgeable family law and divorce attorney.

10- Make New Estate Plans: Review and Update Legal Documents

Review and update important legal documents such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney during the separation period. Ensure these documents reflect your current wishes and align with your plans.

Divorce Process in North Carolina

The divorce process in North Carolina follows a specific legal framework that involves several key steps. Here is an overview of the divorce process in North Carolina:


In North Carolina, spouses must live separately and apart for one year before they can file for divorce. This separation requirement is crucial. During this time, the couple must maintain separate residences.

Filing the Complaint:

Once the one-year separation period is complete, the spouse seeking the divorce (the “plaintiff”) can file a Complaint for Divorce with the appropriate county courthouse. The Complaint outlines the grounds for divorce. In NC, the grounds are generally a one-year separation.

Serving the Complaint:

After filing the Complaint, the plaintiff must serve a copy of the Complaint to the other spouse (referred to as the “defendant”). This process ensures that the defendant is aware of the divorce proceedings and has an opportunity to respond.

Response and Counterclaims:

The defendant has a certain period, typically 30 days, to respond to the Complaint. They can either file an Answer, admitting or denying the allegations, or file a Counterclaim, presenting their grounds for divorce or requesting specific relief.

Discovery and Negotiation:

During the divorce process, both parties engage in discovery, which involves exchanging relevant information and documentation. This exchange process helps determine the division of assets, child custody, spousal support, and other essential aspects of divorce.

Negotiations occur to reach agreements on these matters, either directly or through mediation. However, if you’ve already worked through these issues, the court’s job is more manageable, and your divorce may move faster and cost less.

Settlement or Trial:

If the parties can reach a mutually acceptable agreement, they can draft a Separation Agreement that addresses property division, child custody, support, and other relevant issues. The agreement is submitted to the court for approval and, once approved, becomes legally binding.

In cases where the parties cannot reach an agreement, the divorce may proceed to trial, where a judge makes decisions on contested matters.

Final Judgment:

Once all the necessary steps have been completed through a settlement or a trial, the court issues a Final Judgment of Divorce. This judgment officially terminates the marriage and establishes the rights and obligations of each party moving forward.

The divorce process can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Consulting with a qualified divorce lawyer is highly recommended to ensure you understand the process.

Our Experienced Family Law and Divorce Attorneys Can Help

At Plekan Law, we understand the emotional toll divorce and other family law matters can have on individuals and families. Our team of experienced family law and divorce attorneys provides compassionate and comprehensive legal representation tailored to your needs.

Whether you’re facing a divorce, child custody dispute, spousal support issue, or any other family law matter, we are here to guide you through the process. With our in-depth knowledge of North Carolina divorce laws and our commitment to protecting your rights and interests, we work diligently to achieve your best possible outcome.

You don’t have to face these challenging times alone. Contact Plekan Law today, and let us support you as you find your way forward.