When couples file for divorce, it is often a difficult situation. Both spouses may desire an amicable separation but want to ensure that they leave the relationship with their fair share. As a no-fault divorce state, North Carolina allows couples to divorce without proving that one spouse’s actions caused the separation.
No-fault divorce has specific eligibility requirements. A couple needs to have been living separately for a minimum of 366 days, and one of them must have been a North Carolina resident for at least six months before the divorce.
The separation agreement
The court does not require a separation agreement to gain legal separation. Legal separation only requires the couple to live apart and not intend to reconcile. However, if the couple agrees on the property division for their divorce, a separation agreement may be useful for creating a written document of the deal.
The mediation route
If a couple wishes to move forward with an amicable divorce, working with a mediator may be the appropriate route. The mediation process involves a third party working with the couple to determine a satisfactory division of assets and debts for both sides. Also, they may agree on alimony, custody and child support.
The court’s decision
The court may make the final decision for a divorce. A couple may request that the judge assist them in determining property division. One spouse must file a complaint seeking equitable distribution. In these situations, the judge reviews both sides’ opinions and hears testimonies before coming to a decision.
The process to file
The first step to file for divorce is filing a complaint and a request for divorce with the county court where the marriage occurred. The following step is a summons to inform the other spouse of the divorce proceedings. For the best results, divorcing couples should complete steps thoroughly and as quickly as possible.