How To Begin Divorce Proceedings in North Carolina

If you’re currently separated from your spouse and seeking a divorce in North Carolina, then here is information shared by our firm’s divorce attorney to help you understand the process.

Parties must be separated for a year before filing an action for divorce. One of the parties must have lived in N.C. for six months prior to filing the action for divorce. If you are not separate for a year, then there are still some actions you may take as you wait the year to get a final divorce.

A party may file for alimony, equitable distribution, post separation support, child support and child custody when they are separated. This is not an easy task and it would be in a party’s best interest to seek legal advice from a law firm before trying to file these claims as a pro se litigant.

A divorce lawyer will help make sense of legal issues

a couple going through a separation in north carolinaEquitable Distribution is when property, assets, ad debts are divided equitable either by consent order or by a Judge’s Order. Property division must be filed before a final divorce is entered or you lose your right to claim equitable distribution.

Post separation support is considered “temporary alimony” and is paid after the date of separation until a determination of alimony is made. To qualify for post separation spousal support, generally it is awarded if a spouse has been out of work during the marriage and/or makes a lower income and needs support.

Alimony is a more permanent award and is generally given to the party that is the dependent spouse and makes a lower income. There are many factors that the court may consider for Alimony. They are found in N.C. G.S. 50-16.3A.  

If you have children, then when parties separate and cannot come to an agreement, then one of the parties may file for child custody and or child support.  These two claims however do not have to be part of the divorce action and can filed at anytime after separation until and before the minor children turn 18.

If parties do not have any claims for equitable distribution, post separation support, and alimony, then the parties can file a complaint for an absolute divorce after a year of separation.   A party will file for an absolute divorce and serve the complaint upon the other party.

Understanding that is the only claim that is being filed, so parties must make sure they do not have any other claims before a final divorce is entered or they will lose their rights to their claims once a final divorce is entered. A family law lawyer will help you make sure you stay on track.

When to contact a divorce attorney

North Carolina divorce proceedings and separation agreements can be complicated and costly, so when filing for divorce, it’s a best practice consult with an experienced family law attorney to get you on the right road to divorce.

The attorneys here at Weaver Bennett and Bland, have years of experience providing legal services as it pertains to family law issues. Serving Mecklenburg County and the greater Charlotte, North Carolina region, we will provide a free consultation to discuss this sensitive legal matter.

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