- NC Family Law Resource Center
North Carolina is a “no-fault divorce” state. This means that you do not need to prove marital fault such as adultery, cruel and abusive behavior, economic fault or habitual drunkenness or addiction in order to obtain an absolute divorce in our state. Instead, you need to establish one of two grounds: separation for one year or incurable insanity.
At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, our law firm’s North Carolina State Bar-certified Family Law Specialists can help you determine whether you qualify for a North Carolina no-fault divorce on either of these grounds. We can also help with the paperwork and all other aspects of the divorce process. We have the skill, experience and compassion it takes to meet your goals.
We welcome the opportunity to have a confidential discussion of your case. Call us today or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation at our office in the historic Wyatt House in downtown Raleigh. We serve clients throughout Wake County.
If you have lived separate and apart from your spouse for at least one year, and at least one of you have lived in North Carolina for a minimum of six months, you can file for an absolute divorce. Let’s take a closer look at the two elements for this type of divorce:
1. Separate and apart - To qualify, you and your spouse must have actually lived separate and apart for the full year. Merely living in different bedrooms or different areas of a house would not meet this element.
If you resume marital relations with your spouse, or reconcile, it will restart the one-year period. For example: You may live separate and apart from your spouse for nine months, reconcile and then separate again. You would need to remain living separate and apart for the next 12 months, or one year, to qualify for an absolute divorce. The nine months would not be counted toward the separation period.
What is reconciliation?
It depends on the circumstances. An isolated reunion likely wouldn’t be deemed reconciliation, but multiple ones likely would. If you hold yourselves out as married to the public, it would be considered reconciliation.
The date that your separation starts is important. It not only begins the one-year period for obtaining a divorce, but it also may serve as the date that’s used to place a value on your marital assets when you are dividing property.
2. Residency - To qualify, at least one spouse must have established residency in North Carolina for at least six months immediately prior to filing for the divorce. Residency means having an actual physical presence in the state and the intent to remain in the state for an indefinite time.
If you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least three years due to the spouse’s “incurable insanity,” you may qualify for a no-fault divorce as well.
What constitutes incurable insanity? Under North Carolina law, this means that the spouse was either adjudicated insane within the three-year period, institutionalized for that period or can otherwise be deemed to be incurably insane.
Also, you will need to present expert testimony. At least two doctors must testify that the spouse’s insanity is “incurable.” And at least one of those doctors must be a psychiatrist at one of the state’s four-year medical schools.
Because neither party has to prove marital fault in order to obtain the divorce, “no-fault divorce” grounds generally are the most straightforward and easiest to prove. However, as you can see above, there are still nuances involved in the process. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced NC divorce lawyer when seeking such a divorce.
Additionally, matters related to a divorce need legal attention. For instance, you must assert your rights to alimony and equitable distribution of your property before a divorce is finalized.
At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, we recognize that when it comes to divorce, the consequences for you and your family are quite serious. We’re here to help. If you would like more information, or to schedule a confidential consultation with our Raleigh divorce lawyers regarding your no-fault divorce options, contact us by calling us toll-free or by using our online contact form.
Charles Ullman explains why it is best to use a divorce attorney.See More Videos
We provide you respected, experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys. Charles Ullman is certified by the North Carolina Bar as a Specialist in Family Law. Trust us to help you through the legal process efficiently and effectively.
While many people think of the holidays as safe and festive, the reality for many people is often much harsher. Family stress increases during this busy season, and family court filings spike in North Carolina after the holidays. Family troubles... Keep Reading