If you are going through a challenging time in your relationship and considering ending your marriage, you are not alone. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reports that approximately 32,000 couples get divorced in the state each year. In 2016, 535 couples got divorced in Union County alone.
You may be wondering, “What are the grounds to get a divorce in North Carolina?” Technically speaking, you can get a divorce for any reason, but you can legally get divorced on the grounds of separation or incurable insanity — though there are other grounds for an unofficial divorce called a legal separation. In this article, our Monroe divorce attorneys overview the legal reasons for divorce in North Carolina.
There are Two Grounds for an Absolute Divorce in North Carolina
North Carolina allows married couples to obtain an absolute divorce when specific criteria must have to be fulfilled. An absolute divorce is a complete divorce. There are only two requirements to get a final divorce in our state:
Separation of At Least One Year: Many divorces can be legal based on the grounds of separation. If you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months, you have the right to seek an absolute divorce.
Living separate and apart means that you and your spouse have lived in separate residences, not just in separate bedrooms, for more than one year. This is a no-fault divorce, as no other evidence or allegations of wrongdoing are required.The plaintiff must show the following four things:
- At least one of the parties has lived in North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing for divorce
- The parties were married
- The parties have been separated for at least one year
- At least one party wants to end the marriage
Incurable Insanity: You can also obtain an absolute divorce on the grounds of incurable insanity. A couple must have lived apart for at least three years due to the insanity of one spouse, and at least two qualified medical professionals must certify the diagnosis.
A Divorce from Bed and Board is NOT an Absolute Divorce, it is merely a Legal Separation
North Carolina also recognizes a type of separation called a “divorce from bed and board.” A divorce from bed and board is simply a judicial separation. Specifically, this is not an absolute divorce.
With a divorce from bed and board, parties can call the court to weigh in on a number of family law issues, including child custody, child support, alimony, and property division, however, a divorce from bed and board is not required prior to having these issues resolved. Grounds for a bed and board divorce in North Carolina include:
- Cruel treatment
- Drug abuse
- Indignities (a catch-all term for poor spousal conduct)
An experienced Monroe, NC, divorce attorney will help you understand your rights and options under North Carolina state law. Every case is different.
Get Help From a North Carolina Divorce Attorney Today
At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, our Monroe family lawyers have experience handling contested and uncontested divorce cases. If you have any questions about the grounds for divorce, we are here to help.
Contact our firm today to set up your confidential case evaluation. Our legal office in Monroe provides family & divorce services throughout the wider region, including in Union County, Mecklenburg County, Anson County, and Stanly County.