Online Divorce in North Carolina
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Many spouses find themselves coping with stress and emotions while going through a divorce. Moreover, they need to decide on property division, alimony, parenting time, custody, and much more. All of this makes it challenging for divorcing couples to get over a divorce.
Nevertheless, they can handle it much easier by understanding the main issues in divorce beforehand. Keep reading to arm yourself with knowledge before your process starts.
Valid Grounds to Get Divorce in North Carolina
To get a divorce in this no-fault state, divorcing spouses don’t have to cite who’s at fault. There are two types of divorce recognized in North Carolina: an absolute divorce (the most common type of divorce) and a divorce from bed and board. They come with a unique set of legal grounds.
The absolute divorce can be obtained in case of:
- incurable insanity of one spouse for at least three years, or
- separation for one year
As for the divorce from bed and board (also called a Mensa Et Thoro), the legal grounds include:
- Cruel treatment
- Desertion or abandonment
- Indignities or emotional abuse
- Abuse of drugs or alcohol
How to Get a Divorce in North Carolina
You can apply for a no-fault divorce if you and your spouse have lived apart for 12 months in North Carolina (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-6). All you need to do is file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce to begin your divorce process.
Aside from that, you will also need to prepare other papers and forms. Keep in mind that the paperwork and the divorce process itself is different for spouses with and without minor children.
The divorce process without minor children is quite simplified, as you don’t have to deal with issues like child custody, visitation, and child support. Still, you will have to go through some general steps of divorce, such as:
- Completing Divorce Documentation
- Filing Papers and Forms
- Serving the Documents on the Defendant
- Setting a date for hearing
- Going to Court
If there are children involved, be ready to cope with custody and child support besides alimony or spousal support. Spouses can use an online calculator to determine how much their alimony will cost. It will depend on their annual income as well as spousal and child support obligations.
North Carolina Family Laws
Family-related divorce cases involve navigating the process that may include everything from child support and custody to parental rights and alimony. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony
Either spouse may get alimony or spousal support regardless of gender in North Carolina. When awarding alimony to one of the former spouses, a lot of factors come into play, including:
- Financial resources of both spouses
- The standard of living during the marriage
- Which parent has primary child custody
- The overall physical and mental state of both spouses
- Marital misconducts
- Income tax consequences
- The age of each spouse
Custody and Visitation
In North Carolina, sexual orientation, gender, and race don’t play any role in getting custody. The judge will consider both the child’s welfare and interests (ren) when deciding on child custody.
Spouses who don’t live together anymore aren’t required to obtain a custody order. For the children turning 18, the courts can’t order visitation or custody.
Both parents are responsible for supporting minor children during and after marriage. Here are some factors that are taken into consideration when deciding on which parent should pay child support:
- The child’s assets and needs;
- Any homemaker and childcare contribution of parents;
- The financial ability of each parent to afford child support;
Are you ordered to pay child support? If so, use a child support calculator to understand better how much money you can expect to pay every month. For more information, read through North Carolina child support guidelines.
North Carolina Divorce Papers and Forms
Suppose you want to file for an absolute divorce without a lawyer. In that case, you’ll need to prepare a divorce packet consisting of the following forms:
- Complaint for Absolute Divorce
- Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet (Form AOC-CV-750)
- Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (Form AOC-G-250)
- Civil Summons (Form AOC-CV-100)
- Notice of Hearing
- Judgment of Absolute Divorce
- Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment
- Certificate of Service
You can find all of these papers and forms online. It will take you a couple of days to gather and complete your paperwork. Keep one or more copies of all of these forms for your records when printing your divorce documents. Contact the Legal Aid of North Carolina for more details.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina
Just because spouses have agreed on the terms of their divorce doesn’t mean there’s no requirement to meet when filing for an uncontested divorce. Actually, there is a residence requirement that obligates either party to reside in North Carolina for at least six months. The spouses are also required to live separately for one year or more.
What if I Have Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce occurs when divorcing couples disagree on the major issues, such as the division of marital assets and child custody, in their proceeding. If they don’t want to negotiate, the court will eventually make decisions on these issues.
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Property Division in North Carolina
Determining how marital property should be distributed is a challenging aspect of dissolving a marriage. The wealth needs to be distributed fairly and legally anyway. How does it work in North Carolina?
Given the fact that it’s not one of the community property states, the marital property is divided by applying equitable distribution. This means that your property will be divided equally so that the court will make sure the distribution is fair to both spouses.
How to File Divorce Papers in North Carolina
Just like in other states, divorcing couples need to file their papers with the court office of the local county clerk where they live. Follow these tips when filing for divorce:
- Step 1: Take three or four copies of divorce forms to the office of the local court clerk’s office in the county in which you’ll be filling.
- Step 2: Once you’ve paid the filing fee ($225), provide the Court with the Summons and Complaint (must be originals).
- Step 3: Serve your spouse by copy, delivering copies of all divorce documents.
Those who can’t afford to pay this fee should submit a Petition to Proceed as an Indigent (also known as Petition to Sue). All service and filing fees are going to be waived if their petition is approved.
File your divorce paperwork
In addition to the Complaint for Absolute Divorce, you need to complete at least the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Civil Summons, as well as the Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet to begin your process.
Save yourself the hassle of going to the court clerk’s office by filing divorce forms is through online divorce services. It is not only easier but also more affordable.
Serve your spouse
The service of the process involves serving the defendant with divorce paperwork. Unless your fees are waived, you will have to pay someone (a process server or sheriff) a service fee. After serving your spouse, you’ll need to wait thirty days to proceed further.
Full and accurate financial disclosure is important. It ensures that the division of assets is fair. That said, make sure your spouse made complete disclosure of his/her assets.
Many people try to hide their money or property when disclosing their assets. If you think your ex-spouse has made an incomplete or inaccurate financial disclosure, don’t hesitate to inform your lawyer.
Likewise, many spouses are reluctant to disclose their assets. In that case, the court will force them to provide the necessary documentation by compelling discovery.
How to Serve Divorce Papers in North Carolina
The petitioners can’t deliver the lawsuit themselves. Instead, they should choose a method of personal service that best suits them. In North Carolina, there are 4 options to choose from when serving the defendants:
- Service by certified mail, return receipt requested
- Service by Sheriff
- Acceptance of Service
Whichever method you choose, be ready to wait 30 days for a response. Visit the local clerk’s office on day 31 (or after). Once you’ve confirmed your spouse (defendant) is served, you’ll have to return a Notice of Hearing.
How to Get a Divorce in North Carolina Without a Lawyer
Let’s face it; having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side is a safe bet. This is especially true for a contested divorce. However, not everyone can afford an attorney when filing for divorce.
If both spouses both think their divorce process can be finished in a friendly manner, they should try to get a divorce themselves without hiring an attorney.
File Divorce Papers Online
Many people benefit from filing divorce papers online. This enables them to save a lot of time and money (several thousands of dollars) by avoiding attorney’s fees. If you want to complete your process through an online divorce service but still turn to a lawyer for assistance if needed, then you should go with CompleteCase.
Founded 20 years ago, CompleteCase is well-established with lawyers who have approved or written all the divorce documents available. Your documentation will be stored securely on the website thanks to an auto-save feature.
The questionnaire process is very intuitive and easy. Get your divorce papers prepared through a simple process and save yourself a headache. Once your forms get completed, you can access and download your documents whenever you want.
CompleteCase will also provide you with instructions that will help you file your divorce papers online. If any complications arise, feel free to contact customer support by phone and/or email. Expect to get a response in less than 24 hours.
Check if You Qualify
How much does a divorce cost in North Carolina?
If you hire an attorney to handle your divorce process, expect to pay anywhere from $9,600 to $11,800 for his fees. Divorce lawyers charge from $230 to $280 per hour across the state. The total cost of divorce is considerably lower when it comes to uncontested cases.
How long does it take to get a divorce in North Carolina?
Simple divorce cases take from 45 to 90 days to get finalized in North Carolina. Not all spouses agree on main issues like alimony and custody. Your spouse may request spousal support or changes in the division of property during a divorce proceeding. That considerably delays divorce processes.
How can I get a copy of my divorce in North Carolina?
Do my spouse and I need to live in North Carolina to get a divorce?
The courts grant divorces if the couples have lived separately for a minimum of 1 year. They can start the divorce process after a year. However, spouses must reside in North Carolina for 6 months or more before filing for divorce.
Can I still get a divorce if my spouse doesn’t want to get one?
You will still be able to get a divorce if the other party avoids responding to a divorce complaint. The process will keep progressing without his/her input. If spouses cannot come to a divorce settlement agreement with a mediator or themselves, the judges will make the final decision.
My spouse doesn’t want the divorce. What if he won’t sign the papers?
Your process will move ahead and become an uncontested divorce if your spouse does not respond on time or refuse to sign divorce documents. So, his refusal to sign divorce forms will prolong but not stop your divorce process from taking place.