If you decide to divorce your spouse in North Carolina, you should know the specific procedures and requirements you need to satisfy. You should also make sure you have met the eligibility requirements in the state. To qualify for a divorce, you or your spouse must have lived in North Carolina for at least 6 months. You also must have been separated for at least a year and a day.
Once you have met the requirements, you should know where to file for divorce. Court clerks will not help you fill out the forms because they are prohibited from giving legal advice. This is why you will need the help of an expert divorce attorney.
Are you considering filing a divorce in North Carolina? Contact Speaks Family Law to discuss your rights and roles with the best Wilmington Divorce Lawyers.
Preparing Your Forms
You will need to complete several forms to begin the divorce process. You must fill out a Civil Summons, Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet, Service Members Relief Affidavit, and Complaint for Absolute Divorce. If you need guidance during this step, you can refer to the divorce pamphlet published by the North Carolina Judicial Branch. It contains the necessary forms and instructions.
You can also access the Do It Yourself Divorce Packet published by Legal Aid of North Carolina. Typically, all your forms will contain blanks for the Defendant and Plaintiff. As the person asking the court for a divorce, you are the plaintiff. Your spouse is the defendant.
Make sure to note the forms that require notarization. Don’t sign these until you are in front of a public notary. Additionally, make copies of all your forms.
Residency and Filing Your Forms
You or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months before the filing date to file for divorce in North Carolina. This is called the residency requirement. If you meet it, you can file your forms in the District Division or Superior Division of the General Court of Justice in your county.
When filing your papers, you will be required to pay a filing fee. You can find a list of the current fees on the North Carolina Courts website fee section. You can also call the Clerk of Court office at your county.
If you cannot pay the filing fees, you can apply to have them waived by filing a Petition to Proceed as an Indigent. You won’t pay the fee if your petition gets approved.
Serving the Divorce Complaint
The final stage of filing for divorce is serving your spouse with a divorce complaint. Once you file it at the Clerk of Court office, your county sheriff will serve the complaint to your spouse. Currently, that cost is $30.
Talk to a Wilmington Divorce Lawyer Today
Divorce usually involves important matters such as alimony, child custody, and property division. If you want the court to decide on these matters, you should make a formal request in your divorce petition. You could also choose to work with your spouse and a mediator to reach an agreement.
At Speaks Family Law, we help our clients through divorce procedures. We can advise you on when and where to file for divorce. We can also represent you in court if your case goes to trial.
If you are going through a divorce, contact us to get legal help from top Wilmington Divorce Lawyers.