Divorce is always emotionally trying and stressful, as anyone who has been divorced can tell you. The fact that you are considering divorce means you have already gone through your share of difficulties. Now you are ready to move forward with your decision as quickly as you can. Fortunately, getting divorced in North Carolina can be a fairly straightforward process. As long as you and your spouse are in agreement and meet the requirements to get divorced in the state, to begin the process you can fill out the appropriate divorce papers, online or otherwise and file them with your county clerk. In this circumstance, getting your North Carolina divorce documents from CompleteCase.com can make the process even easier by ensuring that you fill out the correct documents accurately and prevent unnecessary delays or added costs.
If you and your spouse are not in agreement about the divorce or things like the division of assets, you may consider a divorce mediation. If your situation is complex and there are significant disagreements, you may consider seeking legal advice from a divorce attorney.
We’ve compiled the following information about divorce in North Carolina to help you understand the process and how to begin your divorce.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collects data on divorce from most states in the U.S. According to the CDC, the rate of divorce in North Carolina in 2011 was 3.7 for every 1,000 residents. In 1990, the rate was 5.1 for every 1,000. The most current divorce rate of North Carolina places it somewhere in the middle among divorce rates by state.
North Carolina has several requirements for divorce, including living in the state for at least six months and having been separated – living in separate residences – for at least one year. Either you or your spouse must have been living in the state to meet the residency requirements. If you have not been living separately for long enough, you can still get a legal separation. But you will not be allowed to divorce until you meet the one-year requirement.
Each divorce is different, so the required papers may not be the same as those filled out by another couple. There are some forms that are filled out in all divorces, though. These included the “Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet”, the “Civil Summons” and the “Complaint for Absolute Divorce”. It is best to contact your local county court to verify that you are filling out all of the correct documents for your circumstance. Make sure to avoid signing any statements or affidavits until you can do so in front of a notary public. Many courts offer a notary service when you take your papers to file but not all do.
The North Carolina Court System website contains a list of Frequently Asked Questions that will help you better understand the divorce process in the state. Reading the FAQ, along with the Do It Yourself Divorce Packet provided by Legal Aid of North Carolina is recommended before you start your divorce. You want to be as well-informed as you can be as you move forward. Educating yourself will help you look out for your best interests, especially if you are going to represent yourself in the court system.
If you start to feel confused or overwhelmed when reading through all of these documents and trying to decide which divorce forms apply to you, understand that this is normal. Unless you have legal training, chances are you have not dealt with documents like this before. For many people, getting their North Carolina divorce papers online from CompleteCase.com makes the process easier and less stressful. Our service will identify the divorce papers required for your specific needs and will help you make sure that they are filled out correctly. This can help prevent delays or unnecessary costs to your divorce, and provide you with some much-needed peace of mind.
After you have completed the divorce papers required in North Carolina, you will take them your local county clerk. You should make at least two copies of the documents before you file, one for your records and one to serve to your spouse. It is also a good idea to contact the county clerk before you file to verify that you bring everything you need to complete the filing, including a form of payment accepted by the court for the state filing fee. You may be able to have the fee waived by completing the “Petition to Sue/Appeal as an Indigent”. Once the filing fee is considered paid, the clerk will stamp your divorce papers and file them with the court.
The court requires you to serve copies of the divorce papers with your spouse. The serving process is an important part of the court requirement as it allows your spouse to respond to the divorce and present his or her side before the divorce is finalized. North Carolina does not allow you or anyone you know to serve the papers. Typically people choose to serve divorce papers using a sheriff’s deputy, who charges a fee for the service. You may be able to arrange the serving with the county clerk. Make sure to ask the clerk about serving your spouse after you file.
After your spouse has been served with the divorce papers, you will need to wait 30 days before you can schedule a hearing to finalize the divorce. After the hearing is scheduled, you will complete a “Notice of Hearing” form, and give a copy to your spouse. When your spouse has been notified, you will complete a “Judgment for Absolute Divorce” form, a “Testimony” form and a “Certificate of Absolute Divorce” form, all of which you will take with you to the hearing. At the hearing the judge will verify that you and your spouse agree to the divorce terms. If you are in agreement, the judge should grant the divorce.