Divorce can be a stressful time.  It is a decision that will affect you and your loved ones for a lifetime. When you have decided that you want to move forward with obtaining a divorce, there are a few basics questions to consider. 

1.  When can I file for divorce?

The required period of separation is one year from the date of separation in North Carolina, regardless of whether minor children were born of the marriage.  

2.  When should I meet with an Attorney?

As soon as you know you are contemplating separation.  Typically, there are claims that need to be addressed during the period of separation prior to filing for divorce.  Any claims you may have for alimony or equitable distribution may be waived if you fail to raise them prior to a divorce judgment being entered.  

3.  What if we agree on most/all things?  Is there a way to stream line the divorce?

You can have your attorney draft a Separation Agreement with all of the terms on which you and your spouse agree.  This can include such issues as: Child Custody; Child Support; Spousal Support and Equitable Distribution.   If there are issues that cannot be agreed upon, they can be reserved for a Judge to decide.  Discuss with your attorney whether you want your Separation Agreement incorporated into a court order.  

4.  Can’t I file for divorce on my own?

While you can process your divorce on your own, it is strongly recommended that you retain an attorney to handle the divorce process and eliminate further stress in an already difficult time.   Only your attorney will be able to tell you what your rights are and give you the legal advice you need.

Published on February 16, 2017