NC Divorce Guidelines

Marriage is tough, but often times the divorce process feels even worse. You may be approaching a divorce feeling worried, stressed or even angry. Experienced divorce attorneys can help make the process go more smoothly, and give you the confidence to take your new lease on life head on. Every state handles divorce slightly differently, we’re reviewing the divorce requirements for North Carolina.


In order to get a divorce in North Carolina, the court only requires that the couple has lived apart for at least 12 months without the need to show proof of the separation. The only information needed is the date when the couple started living apart and that at least one party in the marriage intends the separation to be permanent. The couple is not considered legally separated if they are still living in the same home even if the relationship has ended. Obtaining a legal separation agreement is also a good idea. Both members of the couple need to be present at the time the separation agreement is put in writing, both need to sign the document and have it notarized.

The marriage must have not resumed during the 12-month separation period. If the court finds out that the marriage has resumed within the separation period, the time will be reset to another 12 months in order to obtain a divorce. The complaint for divorce is usually granted in less than 60 days, depending on the county where the divorce is filed.

Immediate filing for divorce is not a requirement in North Carolina, and you may want to remain married while being separated due to beneficial reasons such as social security and health insurance. Our team of experienced divorce attorneys can help you determine the proper timing for filing the divorce in such a way that your rights are protected.

Absolute divorce is simply the term used for a divorce in North Carolina. Since NC is a no-fault state, the plaintiff doesn’t need to prove any wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse to file for absolute divorce. Either spouse can obtain an absolute divorce by filing a complaint with any court in North Carolina – not necessarily in the court of the county where you or your spouse lived during the marriage. While a court case needs to be filed to obtain judgment for absolute divorce, you may not need to go to court if you hire the legal services of an NC divorce attorney.


(1) The plaintiff or defendant have resided in North Carolina for six months preceding the filing of the complaint for absolute divorce;
(2) The parties are married;
(3) The parties have been living separate and apart for one year preceding the filing of the complaint for absolute divorce;
(4) The parties do not intend to resume marital relations.

For filing an absolute divorce in NC on your own, we have forms available in our forms bank for you to review. You may file for a divorce yourself but if you want to make sure you won’t waive any of your rights, it’s best to consult with an NC divorce lawyer. If a complaint for divorce has already been filed and you’re concerned about whether your rights are protected or waived, contact us right away to schedule a consultation.

To learn how North Carolina law may apply to your unique circumstances or to schedule a consultation, please contact Greene Wilson Crow Smith Attorneys at Law by calling (252) 634-9400 or visiting