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What are the requirements for a North Carolina divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce rules are different in every state in the country. Therefore, the stories that people have heard from individuals they trust or followed in the media may not accurately represent what would happen should they divorce.

Every state has different requirements for divorce filings, with different rules about property division and different court precedents that govern the details of divorce proceedings. North Carolina is no exception. The state has adopted numerous statutes clarifying when divorce is possible and what typically happens when couples decide to formally end a marriage.

Someone feeling unhappy with their current marital circumstances might question what they need to have in order to file for a divorce. What are the requirements for divorce in North Carolina?

North Carolina is a no-fault state

In some jurisdictions, spouses can file fault-based divorces. Their circumstances need to meet certain criteria, and they request a divorce based on specific legal grounds. Adultery and abuse are examples of common fault-based reasons for divorce filings.

No such justification is necessary to initiate divorce proceedings in North Carolina. As a no-fault divorce state, North Carolina does not permit grounds-based divorces. Spouses do not need evidence of misconduct to qualify for a divorce. However, they must separate for at least a year before they can move forward with the divorce process.

Only one spouse has to seek out the divorce. The other does not necessarily have to agree with the divorce for it to occur. Of course, cooperation can simplify the divorce process. If the spouses can agree on the major elements of their divorce, they proceed with an uncontested divorce. They set their own terms for property division, support and custody matters.

Other times, spouses may disagree and may need to litigate in family court. A family law judge decides what would be a fair way to divide their property and make custody determinations based on what would be best for the children.

The only real requirements to initiate divorce proceedings in the state are a year-long separation and the decision of one spouse to take action by filing papers with the courts. Those who understand the unique North Carolina approach to divorce may feel more confident as they prepare to file. Learning more about the basics of divorce can empower those ready to move on from an unhappy marriage.