Divorce in North Carolina

If you are considering separation or divorce, our Chapel Hill divorce attorneys are here to help you. The attorneys at Averett Family Law 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.


Ending a marriage normally begins with the decision to separate. The process includes making decisions involving:

These decisions can be easy or complex, depending on the parties involved and whether there are disputes that must be resolved.

The word “divorce” only applies to the actual dissolution of the marriage. Most of the details must be decided prior to the actual divorce decree being issued. In fact, if you are seeking alimony or property division, you have to file those claims before the divorce order is granted or you may lose your right to do so. 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.

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    Every state handles divorce differently. North Carolina law generally requires the parties be separated for at least one year before a divorce will be granted. In addition, at least one party must have been a legal resident in NC for at least six months. You do not need to prove fault and your spouse does not need to agree to the divorce.

    There are sometimes questions about the date the separation began. This can arise if one party believes you have reconciled but the other does not. If you and your spouse have sex after the date of separation, this does not automatically delay the divorce. If there is disagreement about whether or not you have reconciled, you may wish to speak to a divorce lawyer.

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    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.

    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.

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    “I will always remember how dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate you are about promoting healthy relationships and fighting against the injustices of unhealthy relationships. I truly appreciate working with an attorney of your caliber, and expect that your legacy will continue to touch the lives of many people.”

    Aliece I.
    Aliece I.


    You are not required to have a divorce attorney. 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.


    You should consider hiring 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.

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    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.

    “I am impressed with Ms. Averett’s thoughtful advice and answers to legal questions on Avvo. She has an in-depth understanding of the law and an ability to communicate legal concepts clearly and effectively. I endorse this lawyer!”

    Andrew Dickens, Foreclosure Attorney
    Andrew Dickens, Foreclosure Attorney