Types of Divorce in North Carolina

If you are heading for divorce for the first time in North Carolina, you might not be aware that this process can become quite complicated. Perhaps you think that there is only one type of divorce. In the Tar Heel State, divorce can actually come in many different forms, and it is important to be aware of the possibilities before you start taking any legal steps. You might want to choose one specific type of divorce based on your unique circumstances. Although many types of divorce in North Carolina are rare, some offer unique benefits that can help spouses resolve this matter more efficiently.

If you are having trouble choosing the best type of divorce, it might be a good idea to team up with an experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina. Our legal professionals are well-versed in the complexities of this process, and we will recommend the best course of action for you. When you work with one of our divorce attorneys, you can approach your divorce with confidence, making the experience less stressful, time-consuming, and confusing.

No-Fault Divorce

This is one of the most common types of divorce in North Carolina. In all likelihood, it is the option you will be choosing to legally end your marriage. As the name suggests, you and your spouse are not required to give any reason for your divorce, and no one needs to be blamed for the breakdown of the marriage. The only requirement is that you live separately from your spouse and stop performing marital duties for at least 12 months. After this one-year period, you can move forward with your divorce.

While it is true that neither party needs to assign fault, a spouse’s behavior during the marriage may still impact various aspects of the divorce, such as alimony or child custody. For example, a spouse who commits marital misconduct in North Carolina may lose the opportunity to recover alimony.

Divorce From Bed and Board

Although this phrase contains the word “divorce,” it is not actually a legal divorce. When someone obtains a divorce from bed and board, they become legally separated. This separation is only granted in rare cases that involve domestic violence, abandonment, adultery, substance abuse, or other instances of marital misconduct.

In effect, this helps spouses obtain an “instant” separation in situations in which they need help immediately from the legal system. The courts can provide these spouses with temporary spousal support and certain property division rights before the actual divorce, allowing them to live separately from their spouse. They can then move forward with their “real” divorce after a one-year period.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce falls under the general category of a no-fault divorce, but it involves some measure of disagreement between the spouses. Perhaps they cannot agree on who gets the family house, how child custody will be handled, or some other matter. If spouses cannot agree on these matters outside of court, their divorce becomes “contested.” This means that they will need to resolve their arguments through a trial process with a judge and jury.

Uncontested Divorce

If spouses agree on virtually every aspect of their divorce in North Carolina, they can simply put everything into a settlement document and have a judge sign off on this document in court. This is obviously a cheaper, easier, and less stressful option. There is no need to go through a lengthy trial process, since there are no disagreements to resolve. With all that said, agreeing upon every single detail of the divorce can be quite difficult, and it requires careful negotiation and mediation.

At-Fault Divorce

In an at-fault divorce, spouses give clear and obvious reasons for the termination of their marriage. These are not simply “irreconcilable differences,” but rather specific examples of misconduct, such as adultery, cruelty, desertion, and a range of other accepted reasons. Spouses may choose to go this route for a number of reasons, and they may be able to sidestep the one-year separation period if they do this. However, North Carolina does not recognize at-fault divorces, as it is considered a “no-fault” state.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you need help with your divorce in North Carolina, look no further than Arnold Smith, PLLC. We have considerable experience with divorces in the Tar Heel State, and we can help you select the best option and you move with the next chapter of your life. Sometimes, this decision is relatively straightforward, but it may require some deliberation in other circumstances. Whatever the case may be, we will consider your unique circumstances before we recommend the best course of action. Contact us today at 704-370-2828 and book your consultation today.