Getting a Divorce in North Carolina
Our Chapel Hill divorce attorneys are here to help you. We work with individuals in Pittsboro, Siler City, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and surrounding areas in Chatham and Orange Counties. The team at Averett Family Law includes a Certified NC Family Law Specialist. Call us today at (919) 903-9442 or email us for answers to your questions or to schedule an appointment.
Divorce is a process that normally begins with the decision to separate. The word “divorce” only applies to the actual dissolution of the marriage. Divorce is a process that normally begins with the decision to separate. Disputes involving custody, child support, spousal support, and property division are separate issues. In fact, if you are seeking alimony or property division, you have to file those claims before the divorce order is granted.
The divorce attorneys at Averett Family Law are here to help you understand the divorce process and work with you to achieve a positive outcome.
Questions About Divorce
Each state handles divorce differently. In North Carolina, for most people, if
- you have been separated for at least a year, and
- either spouse has lived in North Carolina for the last six months,
then either one of you can file for divorce here. There is no need to prove fault. You also do not need your spouse’s consent. If you have been separated for at least one full year, you are entitled to a divorce as a matter of law.
It is especially important to consider custody issues if you have children, understand your financial situation and whether spousal support will be paid (or received), and discuss division of property – both real property (any homes you own) and personal property (cars, furniture, artwork, jewelry, etc.). A family law attorney can help answer specific questions you might have.
A question that often comes up relates to intent to reconcile. If you and your spouse had sex after the date of separation, that does not necessarily delay the divorce. Isolated incidents of sexual intercourse do not cancel the separation. If you believe that you and your spouse did reconcile, or if you think your spouse will claim you reconciled, you should talk to a divorce attorney.
If you plan to handle the divorce yourself, you should talk to an attorney first to make sure that you are protecting your rights. Speak with a divorce attorney before proceeding on your own if:
- You have joint debts or joint property, even if it’s not titled in both names. Under NC law, if either of you bought items, increased the value of things you already owned or even earned retirement benefits during the marriage, your spouse may be able to claim half of the value. Likewise, debts incurred during the marriage, regardless of whose name it’s in, may be a marital debt for which both of you are responsible.
- You own your home or property of significant value, like a vacation property or a boat.
- You have debts that were incurred during the marriage, or your spouse does.
- The car you drive is titled in your spouse’s name, or your name is on the car your spouse drives.
- You have children together.
- You want support from your spouse, such as child support or alimony.
- You don’t have an address for your spouse.
- You are not sure whether you have been separated for a year.
- Your immigration status would be affected.
- You are afraid about how your spouse will react or there has been violence in your marriage.
An attorney can tell you how getting a divorce may affect other rights you have as a married person, such inheritance, health insurance eligibility, and tax status.
Yes. If you and your spouse have resolved any potential disputes and you are confident you understand the implications, you may file for divorce in North Carolina without a lawyer. There are five basic steps, from filing a complaint and summons with the court to attending the final court hearing. For more detail, please see our article on Filing for Divorce without an Attorney.
Averett Family Law is Here to Help
Going through the process of divorce can be very stressful. Our divorce attorneys will work with you to help you through the process, answer your family law questions and ensure your rights are protected.
If you have questions or are ready to move forward with your divorce, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.