Divorce can often be a complex process that involves financial considerations and personal matters. One of the first things you need to know if you’re considering dissolving your marriage is how to file for divorce. Each state has its own procedures and rules for filing for divorce. Here’s what couples need to know in order to file for divorce in North Carolina.
How to File for Divorce in North Carolina
Similar to several other states, North Carolina is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means neither party in the marriage has to prove their spouse caused the marriage to come to an end.
What are the grounds for divorce in North Carolina?
While North Carolina is a “no-fault” divorce state, there are two requirements for couples seeking to dissolve their marriage through divorce:
- The couple must live separately from each other for at least one year.
- One of the spouses must reside in North Carolina for at least six months before filing for divorce in North Carolina.
Physical Separation Requirement
A married individual that wants to file for divorce must first have a physical separation. This means that the spouses must not live together for a minimum of one year.
How to File a Contested Divorce in North Carolina
The first step is for one spouse to file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce with the court in their jurisdiction. An attorney can also file the complaint on behalf of the spouse. After being served the divorce papers, the non-filing spouse has 30 days to respond by filing an Answer. He or she can also request a time extension to file an Answer.
What Do I Need to File for Divorce?
In addition to the necessary paperwork required to file for divorce in North Carolina, the filing spouse will need to make sure they meet the residency requirement. There are also divorce filing fees that will need to be paid.
Residency Requirement for Filing for Divorce
As previously noted, in order to file for divorce in North Carolina, the spouse filing for divorce must have resided in North Carolina for six months before he or she can file for divorce. Each state has its own residency requirements, which can vary from 0 days to one year, as well as be based on county residency or if both spouses live in the same state.
Divorce Filing Fees in North Carolina
Court filing fees need to be paid to begin the divorce proceeding. The initial fee to file for an absolute divorce in North Carolina is $225, as of 2022. There are also additional fees for having a sheriff serve the divorce papers and restoring a former name after the divorce and for setting a motion for hearing.
Consider a Separation Agreement
A separation agreement can be useful in the divorce process to settle divorce-related matters like child custody, support, and division of assets. In some cases involving child support or custody, the separation agreement can be modified by the court if the terms are found to not be in the best interest of the child.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce?
While an attorney isn’t required when filing for divorce, hiring a knowledgeable divorce attorney can be helpful in answering questions and handling any issues surrounding the divorce and for ensuring that the divorce is handled properly. If you’re concerned about splitting property, receiving alimony, or have children, contact our experienced attorneys today for legal guidance and to protect your best interests in a divorce.