Five Things to Know About Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina

Written by Jonathan Breeden

January 30, 2024

You might feel defeated when considering a divorce, but not every divorce is a bitter battle. Choosing to end your marriage can be the best option for your family. For some, a fair split with a unanimous consensus could be your ticket to relief, peace, and a secure future for you and your children.

An uncontested divorce could be the solution to ending your marriage. Learn more about this legal option and find out how to contact a North Carolina divorce attorney for help.

Understanding Uncontested Divorce

Also known as a simple divorce, an uncontested divorce is one where both spouses agree on how the marriage should end. It’s not as simple as saying “we’re done,” however. You must also agree on how marital assets, alimony payments, or custody will be divided. The property distribution and alimony must be agreed to or have a case pending on the date of divorce or those claims are lost forever in North Carolina.

You must meet other requirements, like residency or length of separation. One of you must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least six months. You also must have been separated for at least a year. There are other important aspects of uncontested divorce you might not know about, like:

1. Separate Means Separate

To meet the standards for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must be living separately for one year. That doesn’t mean you can just sleep in different rooms. Your residences must be separate for at least one year. The clock will reset if at any time you live together before that year is up.

2. Simple Divorces Take at Least a Year

Because you must meet the separation requirement, your divorce will take at least a year from the date of separation. However, these divorces can still be much faster than contested divorces. Because you and your spouse have decided on the terms of your divorce, you won’t be fighting for custody, property division, or alimony.

3. Either Spouse Can Change Their Mind

Until a judge signs a custody, equitable distribution or alimony order one side can change their mind and decide to contest these issues making the divorce a contested divorce. Even if the parties cannot agree on the property, alimony and custody the divorce can still be granted and those issues will survive the divorce for trial in front of a Judge at a later time. A divorce decree becomes absolute when a judge signs it. If one or both spouses decide they would like to try to keep the marriage together or try a different kind of divorce, they can withdraw their uncontested divorce.

4. Separation Can Be Formalized

You can create a separation agreement to set expectations for your separation from your spouse. An agreement is a contract that sets the terms of your separation. It can outline your parenting schedule, how bills and other expenses will be divided, or who can live in the marital home.

You do not need a separation agreement for your separation to be recognized by the court, but it can be a practical way to protect yourself, your assets, and your children before your divorce is finalized.

5. An Uncontested Divorce Is an Affordable Divorce Option

Regarding expenses, an uncontested divorce is a much more affordable option than a contested divorce. You’ll pay a filing fee of $225 plus related fees for serving your spouse the complaint. Paying for a contested divorce can become very expensive very quickly. The average divorce costs around $15,000.

Will a Lawyer Make My Divorce More Expensive?

While you are not legally required to have a lawyer represent you in an uncontested divorce, hiring one may be in your best interest. Your spouse may indicate they want the same things you want, but people can change their minds. If they hire a lawyer and you don’t, you may get taken advantage of if the situation changes.

Finding an affordable and dependable North Carolina divorce attorney can keep you from facing unexpected surprises as you work through your uncontested divorce.

Call a North Carolina Divorce Lawyer

When you and your spouse decide to end your marriage, you should contact the Breeden Law Office as soon as possible. If you both want an amicable split, you must ensure you take the proper steps to follow the law and secure your future. Attorney Jonathan Breeden understands the difficulty of taking that first step toward divorce, and he has helped many clients work toward their independence and futures.

Don’t wait to get started on your divorce. Be the hero of your story. Call us today at IFBYPHONE or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden