What You Need to Know
Many have heard the term “absolute divorce” but aren’t certain what exactly it means in North Carolina – or how to go about obtaining one. If you’ve decided that divorce is the best option for your marriage, you’ll need to obtain an absolute divorce, so these are important questions to answer. What is an absolute divorce? An absolute divorce is essentially a declaration by a court that a marriage has been dissolved. It is obtained after a court makes a judgment that all of the legal requirements for divorce have been met – and in North Carolina, a marriage is not “officially” over, nor is remarriage possible, until an absolute divorce has been granted.
In North Carolina, there are two grounds for an absolute divorce. Most often, couples will live “separate and apart” for at least one calendar year period, after which time the divorce process can begin, and a divorce can be granted. On rare occasions, absolute divorce can also be granted based on incurable insanity, which requires a medical diagnosis and a three-year separation period. Ultimately, however, arriving at the point where an absolute divorce is granted is a process, and understanding the details of that process can be very helpful in providing peace of mind to those contemplating divorce.
For those couples who want to pursue an uncontested, “no-fault” absolute divorce, the law doesn’t require either party to prove wrongdoing on the part of the other. While marital misconduct might play a role in how different issues are resolved during the divorce process itself, it is not necessary to prove misconduct to obtain a divorce. Instead, it is simply necessary that for one year, the parties live “separate in apart” – meaning that they live in separate residences and are not having ongoing sexual relations – and that one of the spouses has resided in North Carolina for at least six months. After these requirements are met, the divorce process can begin.
Generally, the process will begin with obtaining a qualified and experienced attorney to represent you, and with that attorney’s assistance, filing the necessary legal paperwork with the court of the county in which you reside. The other spouse will then be served with the divorce petition and will have a chance to respond. After that, the case will officially be underway, and the divorce process can begin moving forward.
As you move through the divorce process, you will likely encounter difficult moments – that’s simply the nature of divorce. With the right legal guidance and assistance, however, it can be a process that goes smoothly and helps you to turn the page toward a brighter chapter ahead. We hope that the resources provided here will help you not only to understand what the divorce process entails, but also, that commonly asked questions will be answered, and peace of mind will be provided. At the Law Office of Dustin McCrary, we’re here for you and would consider it an honor to help you through this process.