While property division, child custody, and spousal support are all aspects of the divorce process, the actual divorce itself is called an absolute divorce. This is when the marriage itself is dissolved and both parties are legally able to move on. Often, for couples who don't have complicated financial holdings, children, or one party is contesting the divorce, the absolute divorce, also called, simple divorce, is the only step necessary. But despite being called simple, sometimes the process is anything but, and having a divorce attorney in Raleigh on your side can prevent costly mistakes or losing out on your rights.
North Carolina Divorce Guidelines
Prior to filing a Complaint for Absolute Divorce and additional paperwork needed, the couple must have lived separately for 12 consecutive months and one party must have been a resident of North Carolina for six months. After that, the person seeking the divorce must prepare and file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce in their county of residence, accompanied by a Civil Summons and any other locally required filings such as cover sheets. For example, if you live in Raleigh, you'll file in Wake County.
In the Complaint, the Plaintiff must allege:
- That they were married on a certain date
- Are still married
- Have been separated for at least twelve months with at least one party intending that separation to be permanent
- The parties have not at any time since the date of separation resumed the marital relationship
Once the paperwork is filed, the other spouse must be served with divorce papers.
Having a Divorce Finalized in North Carolina
Once the paperwork is filed, a hearing will be scheduled and both parties will receive notice. Prior to this, any issues related to property distribution or spousal support must be either finalized or have a pending claim on them. Otherwise, if your divorce is finalized without a solution, you are waiving your right to have these issues adjudicated in court.
After the hearing, assuming everything is properly filed, the judge will grant your divorce. Then, the judgement ordering your divorce must be signed and filed by the judge. In addition, a certificate of divorce will be prepared and filed for the record.
Working with an Attorney for a Simple Divorce
While the process of a simple divorce is not complicated on the surface, having an attorney draw up the necessary paperwork and filing on your behalf minimizes the potential for mistakes that can take a long time and be expensive to fix. After filing the paperwork, when the hearing is scheduled, your divorce attorney can use the Motion for Summary Judgement or Divorces before the clerk to keep you from having to attend the hearing, saving you time.
Additionally, having a divorce attorney on your side is important to protecting your rights. Your attorney can sit down with you and discuss equitable property distribution under North Carolina law and even determine if you may be eligible for spousal support. Having an advocate can help you move forward with more security post-divorce.
Schedule a Consultation for Simple Divorce in Raleigh
We understand the divorce process can be complicated and overwhelming, and without proper legal counsel, you may be forgoing what is rightfully yours. If you have questions about simple divorce, our attorneys are here to help. Call (919) 301-8843 or complete the form below to learn more and schedule your no-obligation consultation.