Which Documents Do I Need to File in a North Carolina Divorce

If you are approaching a North Carolina divorce, you will need to prepare yourself to deal with a considerable amount of paperwork. While some of this paperwork can be quite straightforward, other paperwork can be somewhat complicated. However, it is important to approach all of your paperwork with an efficient, organized mindset if you want your divorce to go as smoothly as possible. Filling out various documents is one of the first stages you will need to take if you want to end your marriage in North Carolina, so it is best to put your best foot forward and start the process well.

Of course, you should get in touch with our experienced divorce attorneys before you take any major step. Our legal professionals can make sure you are making the right decisions as you begin this process. In addition, we can also help you avoid common mistakes as you file for divorce and complete other steps. We can also guide you through other stages of your divorce that follow the filing process. These include negotiation, discovery, and (if necessary) the trial.

The Complaint

The complaint is the first major document you will encounter as you approach divorce. One spouse will file the complaint, and this individual is known as the plaintiff. The person receiving the complaint (the other spouse) is known as the defendant. The complaint essentially explains the major facts of the divorce, and it outlines one spouse’s request for a divorce. There is no standard complaint form, so you will need to create one yourself that covers a number of important topics. It is best to enlist the help of a qualified attorney to help you draft your complaint.

This document generally contains things like:

  • The name of the defendant and the plaintiff
  • The fact that at least one spouse has been a resident of North Carolina for six months
  • The fact that both spouses have lived separately for one year before filing the complaint
  • The names and ages of any children involved

In addition, your complaint may include details on matters related to property division and spousal support. You can include your specific requests on these matters, such as whether you want to keep possession of certain property, and how much spousal support you need after the marriage is over.

The Summons

The summons is separate from the complaint, but it serves a similar purpose. Essentially, this document shows the defendant that the court has the authority to handle this matter, and it “summons” the defendant to court. After someone receives a summons, they only have a short time to respond. Typically, you would write a written response to the summons and serve it to the plaintiff or their attorney. You must also file your answer with the Clerk of Court.

The Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet

Another important document is the Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet. This is a straightforward checklist that serves as the first page of your filing. All civil actions must include this cover sheet, and you will need to refile your filing if you fail to include this document. It is a basic document, and it includes information like the spouses’ names, addresses, and phone numbers. It also includes the type of pleading and various claims for relief that a spouse might be pursuing. You will also need to sign this document before proceeding.

Other Documents

In certain situations, you may also be required to file an affidavit. This is usually required if you or your spouse is in the military. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act requires you to file an affidavit, as laws in North Carolina protect the legal rights of active-duty service members. Finally, you can choose to file as an “indigent” if you cannot afford to pay the filing fee. If you need to do this, you will need to fill out a separate form.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have considerable experience with every stage of a divorce, including the various paperwork that you will need to file at the very beginning of this process. With the right legal assistance, complicated paperwork and documents become easier to understand and deal with. Reach out today, book your consultation at 704.370.2828 and let us help you end your marriage in an efficient manner.