When couples end a marriage, it is often after great consideration that things between them are no longer working out. The process is complicated and emotional, and most individuals hope to get the divorce started and finished as quickly as possible. Divorcing in North Carolina requires an individual to understand the state’s family laws on divorce. If you intend to make the divorce as clear and fast as possible, the online divorce approach to a divorce in the state may help complete the divorce quickly.
Family Divorce Law in NC
Understanding North Carolina’s divorce process is integral in filing a divorce. There are various requirements in the state of NC to file a divorce, starting with residence requirements. In North Carolina, to file for divorce, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for six months. Additionally, it is required that you and your spouse live separately for one year uninterrupted before an absolute divorce filing. When an interruption occurs, and the two of you live together within one year, you have to restart the process.
Known as a hybrid fault divorce state, NC does not require at-fault divorce requirements like abuse and infidelity, among others. Individuals have only to prove that their marriage is beyond repair, meaning that there is no reasoning required to file for divorce in the state.
When spouses have lived separately for one year, a divorce can be filed by either spouse within the county of residence. Consequently, the filed complaint is served to the other spouse. The Sheriff’s office typically carries out this process for a small fee.
Divorce from Bed and Board
Besides absolute divorce, North Carolina offers an option known as “Divorce from Bed and Board,” which is a legal separation.
Like a divorce, in a DBB, family law in NC requires equitable distribution of assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage, parenting arrangements, and a settlement on maintenance. The main difference is that the couple is still legally married. Therefore they cannot get married to anybody else.
A couple may choose to move from a Divorce from Bed and Board to a regular divorce at any time, legally ending their marriage.
Child Support rules in NC-Under the state’s laws, both parents are responsible for supporting their minor children. Either of the parents may be required to pay child support. Different factors are considered, ranging from a child’s needs, a parent’s ability to offer child support, contribution per parent, the Child’s assets, and any other factor that a court may deem relevant.
Spousal support in NC- With no regard to gender, any spouses may be awarded alimony. There are many factors to consider in awarding alimony to spouses in NC. They may include the couple’s standard of living during their marriage, mental and physical states of spouses, the spouses’ ages, marital conduct of spouses, spouses’ comparative financial resources, and other factors.
Property Division- NC is an equitable property distribution state except in cases of separate property where the property acquisition happened before the marriage, inheritance or gifts that came into possession during the marriage, and property in exchange for separate property. Marital property is divided equally except in cases where the court finds it unfair after considering various factors.
Online Divorce in NC
Online divorces in NC are common. It is a great option for couples having an uncontested divorce (absolute divorce). Individuals can use the Do-it-Yourself approach to handle their divorces while employing the affordable services of an online divorce company to handle the complicated paperwork. However, before proceeding with a DIY divorce, one has to understand absolute divorce as detailed below.
Absolute Divorce in North Carolina
An uncontested or absolute divorce in NC involves filing using a no-fault ground. Under this approach, a party doesn’t have to prove that the other caused the breakdown of a marriage, and the absolute terms mean that the court terminates a couple’s marriage permanently. Uncontested means that both couples agree to the divorce and all of the terms of separation (property division, parenting arrangements, and maintenance). When couples take the uncontested, no-fault approach, the process is faster, especially in an era marked by a rise in divorce cases. After meeting the requirements set out under family law in NC previously highlighted, couples may choose to use an online approach in carrying out the divorce process. An individual then proceeds with divorce as follows:
Filing the paperwork- In every divorce, the initial step is getting the right divorce documents then preparing and filing the paperwork. Online divorce services offer to handle this part for you. Through their websites, they provide a quick paperwork preparation process. When searching for the best online divorce service, consider reviews and recommendations to avoid incompetent service providers. Note that in NC, the most necessary forms required in each divorce include Complaint For Absolute Divorce, Domestic Civil Action, Cover Sheet’ Civil, Summons Service members, and Civil Relief Act Affidavit.
After sharing some details about your case with the online divorce service, the provider selects and completes your forms for you. Top sites make the completed forms available through mail or a download within a couple of days.
When filing the completed forms with the court, you’ll need to pay a court filing fee. It is mandatory for all divorcing couples unless you qualify for a fee waiver because of low income. In such a case, the court will ask you to fill out a “Petition to proceed as an indigent.” If approved by the judge, you can proceed with the case without paying the fees.
Serving your spouse– As per the state’s laws, you are required to serve a copy of the documents presented to the court to your spouse. Since state law states that you cannot deliver the documents yourself, consider using the local Sheriff’s office or another individual above 18 years not connected to the case. However, you can also mail the documents by certified mail. Finally, submit the proof of service form to the court to establish that both parties are aware of the case.
Waiting period- The minimum waiting period in the state is 30 days after service of the divorce case documents to the non-filing party
Request a hearing- After the lapse of the waiting period, the court schedules an initial hearing. If both spouses agree, final documents are submitted to the court to obtain a divorce immediately. The finalizing divorce forms include Judgment for Absolute Divorce, Certificate for Absolute Divorce, Separation Agreement, and Property Settlement Contract and Parenting Plan. It is vital to note that once you finalize an absolute divorce, you lose the right to claim alimony, division of assets and liabilities after the final judgment.
Caution when using a DIY online approach
When electing for a do-it-yourself approach using online services to quicken the process, it is essential to be cautious. In an effort to hurry up the process, an individual may not realize some things until after the judgment, when it’s too late. When considering an absolute divorce, consider the following elements.
- a) Under cases of domestic violence
When filing for an Absolute divorce, consider if you have encountered domestic violence or fear the other spouse may try to get back at you for filing an absolute divorce. Your safety should always come first. You can ask the court for a restraining order against your partner. If it becomes evident that you can’t proceed with a DIY divorce, consider the services of a family lawyer.
- b) Division of debts and marital property and support
Since you can’t make changes after the final judgment, it’s essential to properly handle property division. The state will enable you to preserve a claim on debts and marital property through filing a Court claim for Equitable Distribution of Marital Property with the court clerk before filing an Absolute Divorce Judgment. In this case, an online and DIY approach may partially help, but if you have lots of assets or debts, a lawyer’s services may be best.
Advantages of an online NC divorce
Online services assist individuals who lack knowledge or time to do the paperwork on their own. The online service will take care of selecting and completing the forms for you. This approach is time-saving and cost-saving compared to seeking legal assistance from lawyers. Therefore, individuals benefit from such online services. Websites offer a clear step by step process. The main thing is carefully selecting an establishing and reliable service provider who is fast, efficient, and can ensure your information’s security.
Online divorces are fast and convenient, but understanding a state’s laws before any approach is essential. Taking the time to learn the rules for filing, divorce procedures, child custody, property division, and spousal support will help you have a smooth divorce that is done more quickly and results in a more favorable final judgment.