Divorce is not always the solution when problems arise in marriage. However, when a couple finds they are no longer able to continue together, it may be the best answer. Every state has different divorce laws and it is important to know the process to make sure you are following the proper ones in order to obtain a divorce. When you have decided to end your marriage in the state of North Carolina, there are various steps that you must follow in order to obtain a divorce.
The experienced attorneys at The Richardson Firm will help guide the divorce process to make it easier and less stressful for you and your family.
Like many states, North Carolina offers no-fault divorce for those couples who have decided to end their marriage. No-fault divorce is ideal and makes the divorce process easier and less stressful than a fault divorce. It means just that – no-fault; neither party is at fault for the divorce and therefore, neither party has to prove any wrongdoing. However, there are some circumstances where it may be necessary to prove grounds for divorce and, in that case, you may want to consult with a qualified divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Sometimes called a “Simple Divorce,” an absolute divorce is where the person filing only wants to be divorced and is not requesting anything else, such as property division or spousal support.
In North Carolina, you must be separated and live apart for at least a year before you can proceed with a divorce. During this time you cannot live under the same roof.
CHILD CUSTODY, CHILD SUPPORT, EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION (Division of Property, Assets and Debts), ALIMONY AND POST SEPARATION SUPPORT
You do not need to wait until filing for divorce to file for custody, child support, equitable distribution (the process by which North Carolina courts divide and apportion the marital property, assets and debts), alimony and post separation support (temporary alimony pending the final award / determination of alimony). You can file for custody before you separate, and you can – and should – file for child support, equitable distribution, alimony and/or post separation support as soon as your separate.
FILING FOR DIVORCE
If you want to completely end your marriage, you will want to seek an absolute divorce. Either party can file the initial paperwork to terminate the marriage.
You must file the paperwork with the clerk of the county in which you or your spouse reside. You must serve the other party with paperwork, by (1) certified mail with restricted delivery and return receipt requested or (2) via personal service through a sheriff’s deputy. An experienced divorce attorney will handle the filing of paperwork and ensure that the other party is served. Because of the technical requirements and difficulties involved, an attorney will be best suited to ensure the rules are followed. If the rules are not followed specifically, the court can – and likely will – deny your divorce.
HOW TO FILE
To file for divorce, you must file the following documents:
Complaint: The complaint declares the facts of your particular case and any requests for property division, spousal/child support, and any supporting information. It is important to work with an experienced divorce attorney to draft this document as there is no standard complaint form in North Carolina.
Summons: In a civil case like divorce, the summons is the official court document that informs the other spouse that a case has been initiated. It also informs the other spouse of their rights, as well as any time limits.
After a complaint and summons have been created, the spouse who has initiated and filed the divorce case must have these documents served to the other spouse. Serving documents does involve paying a fee to have the police department or other office to serve the other spouse with these documents.
General Forms: Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet and an affidavit pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), telling the court whether or not your spouse is in the military. Th SECRA affidavit intended to protect the legal rights of active-duty service members, and there are specific requirements involved with the completion of this document that non-attorneys may miss.
Finally, you must pay the court filing fee. If you are unable to do so, you can apply to file as an indigent using a state form.
CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS AND LET US PROTECT YOUR ASSETS AND PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
In North Carolina, the courts can be unforgiving in situations where your information and documents are not properly in order. As it is the general procedure for filing for divorce, it does not take into account your unique situation, and your possible need for alimony and/or child support. Contact The Richardson Firm today for advice targeted to your unique situation.
The Richardson Firm’s attorneys and staff know how difficult the end of a relationship or marriage can be. Our firm has over a century of combined legal experience and a veteran staff ready to help you. Whether it is child custody, child support, equitable distribution, post-separation support, alimony, or divorce, we are here to help you. After the initial litigation has ended, we will remain available to help with any modification, enforcement or contempt issues that arise.
Call us at 910-488-5050 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.