The first, the longest, and either one of the easiest or the hardest steps (depending on your marriage) is the North Carolina cooling off period of 1 year from the date of separation. In order to successfully be granted an Absolute Divorce in North Carolina, you must have been separated (living in different residences with intent to remain apart) from your spouse for at least one year and one day from the date of separation.
In North Carolina, you don't need to file for separation and isolated incidents of sexual conduct between you and your spouse will not cause the clock to be reset on the one year of separation.
It is important to note that if you obtain an absolute divorce without first properly filing for, or obtaining any legal rights you may have pertaining to alimony, post-separation support, or equitable distribution, those rights will be barred forever.
Complaint For Absolute Divorce In North Carolina
In order to properly file a lawsuit for absolute divorce in North Carolina, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state of North Carolina for at least the last 6 months.
The complaint must contain your spouse's and your name, county, and state of residence. It must contain the date of the marriage and the date of separation, whether there were any children born of the marriage or of the relationship and their names, ages, birth dates if they are still minors.
If you are not requesting any property or monetary distribution of any sort, you must include a paragraph waiving such claims.
You may request to revert to your maiden name if you wish and this is applicable to you.
All of the information in the complaint must be sworn to in front of a notary.
Filing the Complaint For Absolute Divorce In North Carolina
The complaint for absolute divorce must be accompanied by a summons. The summons is basically a form letting your spouse know that you are filing a lawsuit for divorce against them. In North Carolina, the summons form is available online at the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) web page.
The summons and complaint should have a civil action cover sheet attached to them in order to make the filing easier for the clerks. This form is also available online at the AOC.
Please note that each County has different local rules about what other forms must accompany these standard forms. It's best to contact an attorney to make sure that you have everything that you need.
All of these documents must be clocked in with the clerk, paid for, and proper service rendered agsinst your spouse in order to continue.
Getting A Court Date For Absolute Divorce In North Carolina
Once you have completed all the prior steps and your spouse has been properly served with the summons and complaint, you must request a court date from either the Family Law Case Manager in your County or directly from the Civil Clerk of Court. If your spouse failed to waive the period to answer, you must wait 31 days in North Carolina before requesting a court date. Depending on the type of service you used, there are different requirements for proof of service that you must provide to the Clerk or the Case Manager.
Once proof is provided to the proper person, they will provide you with a court date. Now you must let the other party know of their court date by mailing a Notice of Hearing to your spouse. This Notice must be clocked in and filed with your county's clerk.
Judgment For Absolute Divorce In North Carolina
The Judgment for Absolute Divorce must be completed prior to your court date. You should include findings of fact concerning jurisdiction, service, marriage, separation period, etc. These will be reiterated in the Findings of Fact.
Once the judge signs them and you answer of few questions in court, you're divorced. Congratulations!
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