FOR A CONSULTATION
4600 Marriott Drive
Raleigh, NC 27612
An absolute divorce is the legal proceeding through the North Carolina courts that actually dissolves or terminates the marriage between two spouses. At least one of the spouses must be a citizen and resident of North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing the complaint for absolute divorce in order for North Carolina to have jurisdiction. Most all states have a minimum residency period so that people cannot "divorce shop" and only move to a state to obtain a quicker divorce. You can file for divorce in North Carolina regardless of if you were married here as long as either you or your spouse have lived in North Carolina for six months.
In North Carolina, most divorces are granted on the basis of the spouses living separate and apart for at least a year. Simply sleeping in separate bedrooms is not a separation for the purposes of obtaining an absolute divorce. This year-long period is coupled with intent by at least one of the spouses not to resume the marital relationship, and without actually resuming the marital relationship. The period of separation will not automatically be tolled if spouses who are separated engage in isolated instances of sexual intercourse. However, if the parties have resumed their marital relationship as shown by the totality of the circumstances, then the period of separation will be tolled, and the date of separation for purposes of obtaining an absolute divorce will commence after the parties separate again.
Certain marital rights are extinguished with the entry of an absolute divorce, including equtiable distribution (division of marital assets and debts) and alimony. This is one reason why it is critical that you consult with an experience family law attorney to discuss your rights and caims before proceeding with a divorce. If you and your spouse have jointly titled assets or debts and there is no pending claim for equitable distribution when the divorce judgment is entered, you are left with virtually no way to extinguish joint ownership unless your spouse agrees.
Obtaining a judgment for absolute divorce from the court consists of paperwork, filing documents with the court, and waiting the statutory number of days; the hard part is not obtaining the divorce decree, but working out all of the other issues, such as the division of marital assets and debts, child support, child custody, and spousal support.
Although the absolute divorce complaint and judgment is mostly paperwork, navigating the court system, even for this "simple" process, is complex. Certain information must be included in your complaint for absolute divorce, and you must wait thirty (30) days after the defendant is served before requesting that the court enter your divorce judgment. Our firm regularly handles uncontested absolute divorces and charges a flat-fee of $650.00 (additionally, the Clerk of Court requires a filing fee of $225.00 plus there are additonal costs for serving the other party with a copy of the divorce complaint). By utilizing our experience and knowledge, we can save you a significant amount of time and energy trying to navigate the court system yourself, and you won't have to make numerous trips to the courthouse or appear before a Judge, requiring you to take off precious time from work. We know precisely what information needs to be contained in your complaint for absolute divorce, what forms to file, and when to request the divorce judgment to be entered. You can also request to resume your maiden names as part of the judgment of absolute divorce. If this is not done in the divorce judgment, however, there is another procedure that can be done through the clerk's office after the divorce judgment is entered as well.