We receive this question often. Many people are anxious to get on with their lives—to date, to possibly remarry, or to move. They need their divorce finalized before they can finally take the next step.
In North Carolina, the amount of time it takes to get divorced depends on several factors. The most significant is whether you are seeking a contested or uncontested divorce. For help analyzing your case, contact a Wilmington divorce attorney.
An uncontested divorce is one where you and your spouse agree on all the terms of the divorce regarding child support, child custody, alimony, and the division of marital property. You should draft an agreement and sign it. Submit the agreement with your paperwork to the court. A judge will sign off on the agreement in nearly every case.
As soon as you file your paperwork, you must serve a copy of the papers on your spouse. He or she has 30 days to respond. If you agree on all issues, your spouse can agree to waive service. You still must wait a minimum of 30 days before having an uncontested divorce hearing.
Depending on the court’s docket, the hearing could be scheduled for a couple of weeks after that. At the hearing, the judge might ask a few questions before signing the divorce decree, which officially divorces you.
You are not divorced until the judge signs the divorce decree, so don’t assume that simply because 30 days have passed you are divorced. You aren’t. You will want a copy of the divorce decree since it should contain important information, such as the child custody and support obligations. You should be able to get a copy at the court hearing or, if you did not attend, you can get a copy from the court clerk.
How to Speed Up a Divorce
There isn’t much you can do to speed up your divorce if it is uncontested. You need to wait at least 30 days after service on your spouse. Some people are annoyed by this, but it’s the law.
However, if you are headed toward a contested divorce, then you are looking at probably a year or more before you can get divorced. This is a very long wait. It can take that long to gather evidence to use at the hearing and to fully flesh out the arguments you will make to the judge. Contested divorces typically involve many hearings leading up to your big day in court.
To speed up a contested divorce, you should consider mediation. A mediator can help you and your spouse identify areas of disagreement and possible areas where you can reach an agreement. Narrowing down the issues in dispute this way is helpful. If both spouses agree to mediate in good faith, it is possible to resolve all issues. Your mediator can help you draft and submit a divorce settlement agreement to the judge.
Need Legal Help? Give Us a Call
Speaks Law Firm has handled many divorces for our clients. Even if you want an uncontested divorce, you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your options. You don’t want to give up important legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.