The first year of marriage is often the hardest as both parties struggle to adjust from “me” to “we.” Often, expectations don’t match reality, problems that didn’t seem that serious became worse, or there are more serious issues that have come to light. Regardless of what has happened, a few months into your marriage, one or both of you aren’t happy and you’re ready to call it a day. But, now you have questions about what it means to get a divorce after less than one year of marriage in North Carolina. Our divorce law firm in Raleigh is breaking down what you need to know about ending a short marriage.
Is Divorce the Only Option After a Short Marriage?
If you’ve been married a brief time, you may be wondering if you can simply annul the marriage, in which legally it would be like the marriage never existed in the first place. However, in North Carolina, an annulment is rarely used in these situations; only in cases where the marriage is either illegal (such as in the case of bigamy) or the marriage is voidable, such as if one party is younger than 16; the parties are related, or there are issues of consent or competency. If you’re looking at divorce vs annulment, most likely, your only option is divorce.
North Carolina Requires a Mandatory Separation Period
Once you are legally married, you have to have a separation period of 12 months in which both parties live separately before filing for divorce. While you are separated, it’s a good idea to speak with a divorce attorney about drawing up a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a contract between two spouses that includes things like child custody and support, who lives in joint property, who maintains the upkeep of the joint property, health insurance, and maintaining payment of joint debts, if there are any.
While these are agreements determined between both spouses and not settled on by a court, once signed and notarized it is a legal contract that can protect you during the separation period. Also, it can act as a foundation for the terms of divorce regardless of how long you’ve been married.
Choosing Simple Divorce for a Short Marriage
In the event that you and your partner don’t have complicated finances, joint property, or child custody to work out, an absolute, or simple divorce, may be the easiest and least expensive option. After the 12 month separation period, the parties simply have the paperwork drawn up, signed, and then filed. Once it’s processed, the marriage is legally dissolved and both parties are free to go their separate ways and get remarried.
It’s important to note that all claims for property division and alimony must be resolved before the divorce is finalized. Once it is, you can’t go back and make claims in the future. Also, while it’s called “simple divorce,” having an attorney on your side to prepare and file can ensure the process is done according to legal protocol to prevent problems in the future.
Considering Mediation Over Litigation
When ending a marriage after less than a year, you most likely want to avoid an expensive, contentious divorce, but you may have joint property or child custody and support issues that make the process more complicated. For short marriages, divorce mediation is often an ideal solution to creating solutions outside of a courtroom.
With mediation, a third-party divorce attorney will work with both parties to create an agreement that is legal and fair to everyone involved. You both can avoid a courtroom, minimize stress and expense, and achieve a favorable outcome. Having an unbiased mediator allows for productive discussions even in high-conflict relationships so you can experience a successful divorce mediation.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Divorce Lawyers in Raleigh
If you’ve only been married a short period of time, you may be concerned about the cost of a divorce, if you’ll lose property, or how this will affect your future. You don’t have to go through this difficult time alone when you work with a divorce attorney from The Doyle Law Group. To learn more about our services or to schedule your consultation, call (919) 296-1906 or complete the form below.
Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At the Doyle Law Group, we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party. Contacting our law firm does not imply any form of attorney-client relationship.