The Judge Decides
You cannot divorce in North Carolina unless you get a judge to agree to divorce you. If all you want to do is separate, you and your spouse can each go your own way. However, you will still be legally married in the eyes of the state.
You commence divorce proceedings by filing a complaint in the court of the county where you and your spouse live. But where do you get these divorce papers? Contact a Wilmington divorce attorney for individualized information about your case.
Many people don’t want to hire a divorce attorney but want to handle their divorce themselves. This is certainly possible. If you have a simple divorce, then you might be able to get divorced on your own. With a simple divorce, the couple does not divide its marital property. Instead, each person keeps what is in his or her name or possession.
To get a simple divorce, you can use fill-in-the-blank forms available online. However, we advise against this; to be sure, if you have children or a lot of marital property, then a simple divorce is probably not in your best interest. You should meet with an attorney to discuss having a regular divorce.
Don’t feel pressured into getting a simple divorce. You might not understand your rights, and your spouse could be getting legal advice on the side. For that reason, it is best to meet with a lawyer before going forward.
Steps to a Divorce
Getting a divorce takes time in North Carolina. For example, you must be separated from your spouse for at least a year. Many people don’t understand this requirement, but it prevents you from rushing to the courthouse at the first signs of marital discord.
While living apart, you might disagree on child support or child custody issues. In those situations, you should go to court and have a judge enter an order. For example, your spouse might need to pay child support. It works out smoother if you agree on:
- the time it takes to get a divorce
- child support
- child custody
If you and your spouse both agree to the terms of a divorce, you can get divorced quickly after the year-long separation period. After filing your papers, there is a 30-day waiting period, although it might take longer given the court’s docket. If you and your spouse disagree on critical issues (like custody or property division), then your divorce will take much longer. Some contested divorces last for well over a year.
Contact Speaks Law Today
Before downloading fill-in-the-blank forms and handling a divorce yourself, speak with an attorney. There might be complications that you cannot see on your own, which could undermine your ability to protect your rights. It is better to be safe than sorry because there are no “do-overs” when it comes to divorce.
Contact Speaks Law today. One of our attorneys will meet with you to go over what is likely to happen. If necessary, you can hire us and we will stand up for you and defend your rights. We offer a free consultation if you reach out to us. Call us at 910-769-7339.