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In North Carolina, when you and your spouse have been living apart for at least one year, you may petition the court for an Absolute Divorce. The law also requires that you or your spouse must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least six months before filing. North Carolina does not require that you prove fault, such as adultery or abandonment, in order to obtain an absolute divorce. It is important that you address the issues of spousal support and property division prior to being granted a divorce, as an absolute divorce will bar you from raising these issues down the road.

Why do I need a lawyer?

When faced with family law issues, it is important to consult with an experienced lawyer. A good lawyer will explain the relevant law to you, and will go through all of your options. Also, an attorney can help guide you through the court system, ensure that you comply with local court procedures, and make sure you don’t miss any important filing deadlines. Whether you are negotiating your divorce outside of court, or are facing courtroom litigation, it is important to have an effective attorney that can advocate for your position.

Am I legally separated?

In North Carolina, as long as you and your spouse are living apart, and at least one of you desire the separation to be permanent, you are considered legally separated. There is no paperwork that is required to be signed or filed to make the separation valid; however, many couples choose to handle all the issues related to marital separation in a Separation Agreement. The Separation Agreement will act as a type of contract, and can provide for Alimony, Custody visitation schedules, child support, and marital property division.

There are many benefits associated with resolving your case through a Separation Agreement. By resolving your issues outside of court, you will save time and money, while avoiding unnecessary stress. Also, your Separation Agreement will be prepared specifically for you, and geared towards your unique situation. As a part of your initial research, you may come across “stock” Separation Agreements, but it is very important that you consult with an attorney when considering a Separation Agreement. The language and content of the agreement play a vital role in the enforceability of the agreement, and can significantly change the legal effect of the document.

What if we can’t agree on certain issues?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on certain issues, there are other options available to help you resolve the issues that you are confronted with during a marital separation. You may be advised to file a lawsuit in court, or participate in a mediation to settle your issues. Every situation presents unique challenges, and we will take the time to explain all of your options to you, and advise you on the best course of action.