Man looking over documents with divorce attorney

NC Divorce FAQs

This blog will cover some of the questions people often have when anticipating or going through a divorce in our state. These North Carolina FAQs can address some of the issues that might concern you, but you will want to talk with North Carolina family law attorneys about your specific situation. 

Does North Carolina Grant Divorces Based on Fault or No-Fault?

North Carolina grants divorces based on no-fault grounds. In other words, you do not have to prove that your spouse committed marital misconduct to get a divorce in our state. You do, however, have to live separate and apart for at least one year before you file the lawsuit. Also, one spouse must have lived in this state for six months before the divorce case gets filed.

Even though fault is not relevant to being eligible for divorce, the judge can consider marital misconduct when dividing the property, deciding who gets custody of the children, and determining the amount, if any, of spousal support, also known as maintenance or alimony.

How Quickly Can I Get a Divorce in North Carolina?

After living separately and apart for at least one year before the divorce case gets filed, the court papers that you file must get served on your spouse. After service of the paperwork, you will have to wait at least 30 days before the judge can grant the divorce. 

Even for an uncontested divorce, it usually takes two or three months. An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses have settled all of the issues of their case and prepared the documents for the judge to sign. 

If the parties have a contested divorce, like a custody dispute or a disagreement about how to distribute the debts or divide the property, it can take much longer for the divorce to get resolved. Some divorces take a year or longer in North Carolina, and that is after the parties have lived apart for a year before filing.

How Expensive Is It to Get a Divorce in North Carolina?

You will have to pay a filing fee to the court. Also, you will have the costs of serving your spouse with the paperwork. If you want to change your name with the divorce, there can be additional costs to do that. If you hire an attorney, you will have legal fees. Uncontested divorces usually cost much less in attorney fees than contested cases.

Does North Carolina Automatically Give Custody of the Children to the Mother or the Father?

No. North Carolina courts consider many factors when evaluating whether the parties will share physical and legal custody of the children or name one parent as the primary custodial parent. The bottom line is that the judge is supposed to do what is in the best interests of the children. 

“Best interests” does not necessarily mean letting the children live with whichever parent they want, particularly with young children. Sometimes, the parent whom the children might like better is not the better parent. North Carolina family law attorneys can guide you through the process of divorce in North Carolina. You can reach out to us today.