North Carolina No-Fault Divorce

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While some couples have a prominent reason to end their marriage, North Carolina law could allow them to simply agree that the marriage is broken and should be terminated. This is called a “no-fault” divorce. It can allow you to resolve more quickly and efficiently than pointing the finger at your spouse.

While no-fault divorces offer an effective solution to end your union, you should still work with a divorce attorney. Your lawyer will protect your best interests and ensure you get what you need in your divorce. Call Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 or reach out online to schedule a divorce case consultation.

What Are No-Fault Divorces?

North Carolina is a no-fault state for divorce. That means neither party must have acted wrongfully to achieve a divorce. A no-fault divorce simply means the spouses consider the marriage broken and can no longer be salvaged.

Fault divorce has historically been granted for things like adultery, cruelty, desertion, incarceration, insanity, or impotence. However, making such claims in North Carolina is no longer necessary.

When Is Fault Considered in No-Fault Divorces?

Although North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, a fault may be considered to determine spousal support or alimony. When determining post-separation support or alimony after a divorce, the court will consider “marital misconduct.”

Marital misconduct includes:

  • Illicit sexual behavior (including cheating or adultery)
  • Imprisonment for a period
  • Abandonment
  • Maliciously turning the other spouse out of the home
  • Cruel treatment or endangering the life of the other spouse
  • Indignities that make life intolerable
  • Reckless spending or destruction of assets
  • Addiction or excessive use of drugs or alcohol
  • Willful failure to provide necessities when able

If the court finds evidence of marital misconduct, then alimony or spousal support is more likely to be awarded. The amount may be increased depending on the severity of the misconduct.

What Is Required for No-Fault Divorces?

There are only two requirements to obtain a no-fault divorce in North Carolina: separation and residency.

When parties seek a no-fault divorce, they must have been physically separated for at least one year. That means at least one spouse must have permanently intended to end the marriage. You cannot resume the marital relationship at any time before the year timeline.

Additionally, you must live separately and apart for 12 continuous months. You cannot live within the same residence, share living expenses and household duties, and live as a couple. You must live in separate residences.

Another requirement is that at least one party must be a resident of North Carolina for six months or more before the divorce. One party may move out of state, but at least one of you must remain in North Carolina to get a divorce in the state.

Divorce From Bed And Board

Divorce from bed and board is different from an absolute no-fault divorce. Spouses remain legally married and cannot remarry until an absolute divorce is granted. Additionally, divorce from bed and board is based on fault. You may get a divorce from bed and board if either party:

  • Abandons the other party
  • Maliciously kicks out the other from the family home
  • Oppresses the other party or endangers their life
  • Renders life intolerable or offers indignities
  • Becomes an addict or excessively uses drugs or alcohol
  • Commits adultery

Once divorce from bed and board is granted, you can seek alimony from the supporting spouse, child support, and pursue other issues typically handled in a divorce.

What Are the Outcomes of a North Carolina No-Fault Divorces?

When you get a no-fault divorce, you are entitled to everything you would generally get in a fault divorce. That includes:

It’s essential that you work with a no-fault divorce lawyer who can help you get what you need in a separation agreement or court order. Even if you leave matters up to the court, you may not get a favorable outcome. An attorney can fight to ensure you get what you deserve.

How Do You File for No-Fault Divorce?

You must first meet the requirements to file for a no-fault divorce in North Carolina. If you have been separated for at least one year and one of you has been a resident of the state for six months or more, then you should take the following steps to get an absolute divorce:

  • Draft a complaint that states the facts of your case and requests regarding custody, support, and property
  • Serve your complaint and summons on your spouse
  • Include a Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet and Affidavit along with your complaint
  • File all necessary documents with the county in which you reside
  • Pay the court filing fee or apply to file as an indigent party (so you don’t have to pay the filing fee)
  • Receive an answer from your spouse
  • Work to negotiate a divorce agreement and settle matters out of court
  • Go to a court hearing to finalize your divorce

Although there is no complaint form, many of the documents you will need to obtain a divorce are available on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website.

Will I Need a Lawyer for My No-Fault Divorce?

While a lawyer is not required to get a divorce, it is in your best interest to work with someone who will protect you throughout the process. A divorce lawyer can expedite the process by ensuring your legal documents are correctly completed and filed on time. They can negotiate with your spouse and their attorney. Without the help of a lawyer, you may not get the outcome you need in your no-fault divorce.

Call Breeden Law for Help with Your Divorce

Your best option when seeking a no-fault divorce is to work with an experienced attorney who understands North Carolina laws and can use them to work for you. Attorney Jonathan Breeden has helped countless clients achieve the best outcome possible in their no-fault divorces. He is here to listen to your needs and ensure you get what you deserve.

Call Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 or reach out online to schedule a no-fault divorce case consultation.

Although each situation is unique, filing for a no-fault divorce could be the solution to ending your marriage with as little mess as possible. Understanding your options could take explanations from an experienced divorce lawyer, someone like Attorney Jonathan Breeden. He’s helped people in cases like yours and is ready to hear your story.

Call (919) 661-4970 or use the online contact form.

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Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

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