Identifying the grounds for divorce in NC

What are the Grounds for Divorce in NC? – Your Guide

In Family by Greensboro Attorney

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. 

Eligibility for Divorce

To file for divorce in North Carolina, you must have been a state resident for at least six months before filing. You and your spouse should be separated for 12 consecutive months before you can file for divorce. If you decide to move back in, the calendar will reset, and you will be ineligible to file for divorce. 

A filing fee of $225 also applies to anyone who wishes to file for divorce in NC. Individuals who can prove their financial incapacity might have this fee waived.

Guide to Grounds for Divorce in NC

Identifying the grounds for divorce in NC is the next logical step for couples who wish to finalize their divorce. North Carolina applies the no-fault policy in its divorce law. Therefore, you are not required to provide a reason for pursuing a divorce as long as you and your spouse have lived separately for 12 consecutive months.

Fault in a divorce can be a factor in unique cases, though. This case is known as divorce from bed and board. If you are eligible for this, the court will issue an order of separation for absolute divorce. The party at fault can lose certain rights, such as involving a couple’s shared property. 

grounds for divorces from bed and board in NC

The following situations are some of the grounds for divorces from bed and board in NC:

  • When your spouse forces you to depart your residence
  • When your spouse abandons you
  • When you are publicly humiliated by your spouse
  • When you are treated poorly, and your life is in danger
  • When your spouse is a victim of substance abuse
  • When your spouse has committed adultery. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Filing for Divorce in NC

Divorce is a complex legal process. Every case is different. However, you can follow this step-by-step process as a guide.

Step 1: Physical Separation

There are no specific rules on the grounds for divorce in NC. However, the primary requirement is that there should be a physical separation for the couple to qualify for a divorce filing. 

The physical separation means that the couple should not be living together when filing for divorce and for at least 12 months prior. However, a physical separation does not qualify for a legal separation in the divorce law of North Carolina. A legal separation only occurs if one of the spouses files for a divorce from bed and board.

Aside from a physical separation, at least one divorcing party must have lived in North Carolina for at least six months. 

Step 2: Filing for Divorce

The next step involves filing for absolute divorce. This marks the absolute termination of your marriage to your spouse. You must submit the divorce complaint to the Clerk of Court within your county of residence. You can also hire a divorce attorney to process the divorce complaint for you. 

The Sheriff will file the notice to your spouse that you have filed for divorce. They can do the filing notice physically or via air mail. 

Upon the formal filing of divorce, you and your spouse should agree on certain aspects of your dissolved marriage. You must agree on child custody, child support, spousal support, and asset division. It is vital that you reach an agreement on these matters before the divorce is finalized in court. 

Step 3: Mediation

If you are filing for an amicable divorce, you can opt to enter into a mediation process. The court can sometimes order mediation among couples contemplating divorce. 

Mediation is necessary because it can save you time and resources, especially if you go into a battle in court with your ex-spouse. Mediation can bring about a peaceful and confidential resolution to your divorce process. 

The mediation process can enable couples to define creative solutions and agreement to whatever applies to their situation.

Guide to Filing for Divorce in NC

Step 4: Finalize Divorce

Before a judge issues the final divorce order, each party will get the chance to provide testimony and present their argument. The judge will also take pointers from each party’s divorce attorney and consider that in their final decision. However, the decision will be on the judge’s final recommendations for the divorce. 

Since the judge makes the final decision on the matter, you must enter the mediation process before going to court. The mediation process allows you to resolve the issues between yourselves rather than leaving it in the hands of the judge. 

A divorce eliminates your right to alimony and the equitable distribution of shared property. Therefore, you need a good divorce attorney to help exert your right on these matters before the divorce is finalized in court. 

The moment the judge issues the divorce order, the divorce is finalized. The dissolution of your marriage gives you the right to remarry. 

Step 5: Finalize and Enact the Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is one of the essential steps for divorce. This part allows you to discuss the division of assets, alimony, child support, child custody, and more. This agreement is final once it is agreed upon and notarized.   

Unless there are suggestions for modifications to the initial separation agreement, the North Carolina law will honor those agreements as fair. 

How an Experienced NC Attorney Can Help

The divorce laws in North Carolina entail a lot of legal processes and paperwork. Ensure you work with an experienced divorce attorney to help you handle the complex legal procedure. The best and most experienced attorney will also allow you to enforce your rights and ensure your best interests are protected.