Divorce is rarely easy, but when both spouses agree to the divorce, the process can be less painful from both a time and resources perspective. While there is no specific provision under the law to speed up a divorce in North Carolina, when the couple agrees on most of the aspects of the separation, the divorce process can move much faster.
Divorce in North Carolina
In North Carolina, divorce is referred to as “Absolute Divorce.” In other states, it is often known simply as “divorce.” The term “absolute” does not have any special significance other than to indicate that the divorce is final and the marriage has been permanently ended.
North Carolina is a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorce. This means that a couple can get divorced for any reason. There is no need to prove that one spouse did something wrong or that the marriage was invalid. You can divorce for something as simple as being unhappy. However, couples must be living apart for at least 12 months before they can file for divorce in North Carolina and not intend to resume the marriage.
Uncontested Divorce Versus Contested Divorce
Contested divorces can be messy and complicated. If a divorce is contested, it usually means that the couple cannot agree on a particular aspect of the agreement, such as personal property division or child custody.
An uncontested divorce, however, means that the couple has worked out every aspect of the separation and has developed an agreement on any number of issues that will be affected by a divorce. These could include things like:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Business valuation
- Personal property division
- Visitation agreements
- Division of debts
- Who will get the house or other real estate
When the parties agree, they will enter a “Separation Agreement” that lays out the terms that they have decided upon. In many cases, this agreement will be filed with the court so that it is incorporated into the final divorce judgment.
Uncontested divorces are far more common when the couple does not have significant assets or debts or does not have children. Often when spousal support is an issue, an uncontested divorce may not be possible. A request for spousal support or property division has to be filed before a divorce judgment is entered. Otherwise, the parties waive their right to have these claims decided by a Court.
Procedure for an Uncontested Divorce
The divorce process begins by filing a complaint. You must serve the complaint on the other spouse using a special procedure required by law. Your attorney will decide the best way to serve your spouse. Then, you and your spouse must wait 30 day to schedule a hearing for the divorce with the court. Couples can waive service and the right to file an answer to the complaint to move the process along faster in an uncontested divorce.
Parties can submit their divorce documents to the court on the scheduled hearing date to receive their divorce. An experienced divorce attorney can help you with this process. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.