Has your marriage reached its end? Whether this is a conclusion you and your spouse have reached together, or one you came to on your own, deciding to get divorced is never easy. However, once you have decided that a divorce is what you want, the process for making it happen is fairly straightforward in North Carolina. You just need to take the following steps:
1. Live separately for at least a year and a day.
North Carolina only allows no-fault divorce. This means that all you need is to be separated for a year, and at least one of you must have had that intention throughout that time for the separation to be permanent.
2. File a complaint.
You will need to file a complaint, explaining your case. If you want to file for spousal support or property division, the complaint will need to include your requests and related information (unless you filed for these things prior to filing for divorce). You should also file a summons, a domestic civil action cover sheet, and an affidavit to tell the court whether or not your spouse is in the military. These documents can be filed at the clerk of court, either in the county where you live or the county where your spouse lives. You will be required to pay a filing fee.
3. Ensure that your spouse is served.
You have two main options for serving your spouse with their copies of what you have filed with the clerk of court. Your first option is to pay the sheriff to personally serve them. Your second option is to send the documents via certified mail and provide the court with proof that they received it. There are alternatives to these types of services, but only after you have attempted these types first.
4. Schedule and attend a hearing.
Unless you have filed for a summary judgment divorce, you will need to testify as to the facts you included in your original complaint. If you succeed, assuming you made the requisite allegations in your complaint, the judge will grant you a divorce.
Who can help me through this process?
The divorce process goes much more smoothly when you have a knowledgeable, experienced divorce lawyer by your side. At Haas & Associates, P.A., we use methods such as mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, and litigation to help you achieve equitable and timely results in your family law matters, including divorce. Give us a call at (919) 783-9669 to get started.