North Carolina Divorce Laws

North Carolina Divorce Requirements

Before individuals are allowed to file for divorce in the state of North Carolina, they first must meet the residency requirements. Residency requirement vary with each state. North Carolina requires individuals to be state residents for a minimum of six months before a divorce can be petitioned.

Both individuals are not required to be North Carolina residents to have a North Carolina divorce, but one spouse is required to be a state resident. If both individuals live within the state boundaries but in different counties, either may file for divorce in his or her county or the county of the other individual. All divorce petitions are to be handled by the county court systems.

Filing Grounds

In order for a divorce petition to be granted, the petition must state the reasoning for wanting a divorce. This reasoning is called the grounds for divorce. Simply because one state claims divorcing grounds are legal in its boundaries, does not mean those grounds are legal in the state of North Carolina.

When deciding on grounds for divorce, the individuals involved may agree upon the required grounds or one individual may present the grounds but will need to prove them before the court.

North Carolina breaks its grounds for divorce into two different sections: No-Fault grounds and Fault grounds. Under No-Fault grounds no individual is cited as responsible for the divorce petitioning, and often the individuals filing have attended couples counseling.

No-Fault grounds state that the reasoning for divorce is separation where both individuals have agreed to live at separate residency for a minimum of one year. Under these circumstances either individual may petition for a divorce but often do together.

Fault grounds often cite one individual responsible for the divorce petition and the other individual is the petitioner. Grounds under Fault circumstances include malicious behavior where one individual put the other outdoors; abandonment of one individual and their family; cruel treatment of one individual by the other where a life is endangered; excessive use of drugs or alcohol where the circumstances become intolerable and a burden; and indignities of one individual that make cohabitation intolerable and a burden.

Divorce Documents

Each divorce case has different required documents and can vary depending on the case’s circumstances. For instance more documents will be necessary if children are involved and if the marriage was lengthy. In some cases at least twenty different documents are necessary.

Some of these include a Complaint for Divorce and Decree of Divorce form, a Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act form, a Verification form, a Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet, a Marital Settlement Agreement, and a Civil Summons form.

Distributing Property

North Carolina is considered to be an equitable distribution state where all the property acquired during the marriage is to be divided fairly between the two, rather than equally. If the individuals cannot agree on who shall keep which kind of property, the court will award property equitably.

The court will consider each individual’s employment, custody of any children, economic status, contribution the home, the length of the marriage, and others before awarding property.