North Carolina Divorce Laws
Divorce Requirements in General
All states have certain requirements for getting a divorce, which may include residency rules or the requirement to be legally separated for a certain amount of time before filing for divorce.
While divorce laws used to require proof that one of the spouses was at fault, all states now allow "no-fault" divorce. Most states use grounds such as "irretrievable breakdown" or "irreconcilable differences" when granting a no-fault divorce. But sometimes fault is still taken into account such as in the case of domestic violence or abandonment.
Divorce Laws in North Carolina
North Carolina's divorce laws have a residency requirement (at least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months) and a one-year period of separation that's required before a divorce can be filed.
Once the divorce is filed and served upon the other party, that party has 30 days to respond. If a response is filed, the judgment of divorce can be granted immediately. If no response is filed, the plaintiff must wait the full 30 days before the divorce can be granted.
The North Carolina Family Court System maintains a Divorce Packet on its website that walks you through the divorce process and answers frequently asked questions.
The table below outlines some of the most important provisions of North Carolina's divorce laws. See FindLaw's Divorce section for more articles and resources on the topic.
|Code Section||CHAPTER 50 - DIVORCE AND ALIMONY|
|Residency Requirements||Either party a bona fide resident for 6 months before bringing action.|
Parties must be separated for one year before divorce can be filed.
Divorce can be granted immediately (so long as the other spouse responded or the 30 days they had to respond have passed).
|'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce||Separation (one year).|
|Defenses to a Divorce Filing||-|
|Other Grounds for Divorce||Adultery; divorce from bed and board; cruelty or violence; desertion (abandonment); drug/alcohol addiction; incurable insanity (confined/separated for 3 consecutive yrs.). Offers indignities that renders other spouse's condition/life intolerable/burdensome; maliciously turns other out of doors.|
Note: State laws are subject to change at any time, usually with the enactment of newly signed legislation but also through the decisions of higher courts and other means. You also may want to contact a North Carolina divorce attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- North Carolina Law
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
North Carolina Legal Requirements for Divorce: Related Resources
- North Carolina Marital Property Laws
- North Carolina Child Custody Laws
- Understanding the Divorce Process
- An Overview of No-Fault and Fault Divorce Law
Need Help with Your North Carolina Divorce? Call an Attorney
You may be angry, confused, overwhelmed, and simply want to move on with your life as quickly as possible. As you are moving toward a divorce in North Carolina, there are many issues you will need to consider such as child visitation, child support, and division of your assets. Get help with all the legal aspects of a divorce by contacting a skilled North Carolina divorce lawyer in your area.
A Note About Authorship
This article was created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors, and reviewed by Aimee E. Cain of The Law Offices of Aimee E. Cain. Based in Concord, North Carolina, Ms. Cain has more than 20 years of family law experience.
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