‘Friendly' divorces can turn ugly, and do-it-yourself risk losing important legal rights.
Many misunderstandings exist about the process of obtaining a divorce in North Carolina. Although it is not our intention to frighten divorcing spouses into spending unnecessary funds on hiring a divorce lawyer, it is important for everyone considering a divorce to understand the process and the potential pitfalls if you choose to handle the divorce yourself, without an attorney.
No-Fault Divorce in North Carolina: The Basics
“No fault” does not have the same meaning as “uncontested.” “No fault” means that divorcing spouses do not have to prove that one of them engaged in wrongdoing in order to get a divorce. Fault, such as adultery or mismanagement of marital funds, may come into play — but only in calculation of alimony or spousal support or property division.
To obtain a no-fault divorce in North Carolina, the spouses must be separated for at least one year, and at least one spouse must have intended the separation to be permanent. When that year has passed, either spouse may file for divorce. If the other spouse responds to the divorce complaint, the divorce becomes contested.
In North Carolina a divorce decree puts a legal end to the marriage so that the divorced spouses may legally remarry. All other issues relating to the divorce — such as child custody and support, alimony and the division of marital property — must be decided separately.
Important: Divorcing spouses do not have to resolve conflicts over child support or child custody before receiving the divorce decree. However, questions about property division or alimony must be resolved or filed as pending claims with the court before the date of the divorce decree. If you fail to meet this deadline, you are absolutely barred from bringing disputes about these issues before the court.
Contact Greensboro Family Law Today
Divorce does not have to be expensive. But it is one of the most important legal processes many people will go through in their lives. For that reason, you should choose an experienced divorce attorney to give you guidance and advice.