If you are making the difficult decision to part ways with your spouse, you need to make sure you speak with an experienced lawyer who can advise you throughout the entire process. Below are a few steps that are on the path to file for an absolute divorce in North Carolina.
Living Separate and Apart
To be eligible to file for divorce in North Carolina, you must have been separated from your spouse for a period of at least one year.
Separation is defined as living in separate home with at least one party having the intent to continue to live apart permanently. If at any time during the separation period you choose to resume cohabitating, depending on the circumstances, the clock may reset. If the clock does reset, you will be unable to file for divorce until you reach the year and a day requirement.
During the separation period it may be in your best interest to attempt to negotiate a separation agreement to resolve issues of post-separation support, alimony, child custody and support, and equitable distribution or file a lawsuit asking for these items. It is very important you speak with an experienced attorney immediately to preserve these claims during the separation period and prior to filing for divorce. If you or your spouse file for divorce without first resolving or preserving claims for equitable distribution or alimony and the divorce is granted, those claims will be lost.
Filing for Absolute Divorce in North Carolina
When the minimum year and a day time requirement for separation is met, one of the parties may file a divorce complaint with the Clerk of Court. Once the complaint is filed with the court, the complaint must be served on your spouse before you can move forward with an absolute divorce.
Absolute Divorce Judgment
Once the Complaint has been served on your spouse and your spouse has had 30 days to respond, the court may proceed with granting an absolute divorce. The court must make specific findings of fact including the parties’ date of marriage, date of separation and the intent to remain permanently separated. The decision of the judge is final.
We understand how difficult this process may be and can help guide you through it. Make an appointment with the attorneys at Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long LLP. Contact us at 704-289-2519 today.