Not all divorces involve long and drawn out fights over money, property, and kids. Some couples can come to an agreement about why they are separating, how to divide the property, and how to share custody and support for their children. An uncontested divorce generally allows a married couple to get legally divorced without having to fight over the terms of the divorce in court.
Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina
There are a number of possible benefits for married couples and their children in getting an uncontested divorce. Generally, the benefits of an uncontested divorce include:
- Less expensive than a contested divorce,
- Faster and allows the couple to be legally divorced sooner,
- More predictable in the outcome,
- Disputes are kept out of the public record,
- May allow the couple to stay on better terms after the separation, and
- Allows the parties to make their own decision on assets, childcare, and spousal support.
Even if a couple wants a simpler uncontested divorce, if they cannot agree on the terms and conditions of separation, the divorce may be contested. Another option is known as a “collaborative divorce.” A collaborative divorce generally involves private negotiations with the help of a collaborative divorce lawyer that takes place outside of the courts. The couple works together with the attorney to negotiate the terms of the separation to come to a final agreement.
If the couple still disagrees as to the terms of the divorce that is not resolved through talking, collaborative divorce, or mediation, the couple may have to have the court settle the terms of the separation through a contested absolute divorce.
What Do You Need to Get an Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, getting an uncontested divorce first requires being separated from each other for at least one year. This generally requires living in a separate residence for 12 consecutive months.
To file for any divorce in North Carolina, at least one of the spouses has to be a resident of North Carolina for at least six months before filing for divorce.
North Carolina is a no-fault state for divorce. This means that the spouse filing for divorce does NOT need a specific reason for the separation, like infidelity or abandonment.
Agree to the Terms of the Divorce
Before filing for an uncontested divorce, the couple has to settle or resolve any disputes over the terms of the divorce, including:
With nothing to dispute or contest in a divorce, the process of filing for an uncontested absolute divorce generally involves filing the paperwork and paying the court fees.
Process for Uncontested Divorce
Once the couple has been separated for 12 months or more and at least one spouse has been a resident of North Carolina for at least six months, either spouse can file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. The complaint is served on the other spouse but the spouse can waive service.
After service, the served spouse has 30 days to file an answer. After 30 days have passed, the spouse can request a date for the divorce hearing. If there are no issues in dispute, the judge will sign the divorce judgment and the couple will be legally divorced at that point.
Hiring an Experienced Attorney in an Uncontested Divorce
There are a number of benefits to contacting an experienced North Carolina divorce lawyer, even in an uncontested divorce. Your attorney can advise you of your rights, options, and requirements for filing for divorce. Your attorney can also help you settle any disputes before filing for divorce so that everything will be uncontested at the divorce hearing.
Your attorney can also appear on your behalf for any court hearings and filings so that you will not have to unnecessarily take days off of work to file papers, attend hearings, or come back for rescheduled hearings.
If your spouse does not follow the terms of an uncontested divorce, for example, by not paying support or distributing property as agreed, your attorney can also help you enforce the terms of the divorce agreement.
Shelby Divorce Attorneys
If you have any questions about filing for an uncontested divorce, settling terms of a divorce before filing, or how we can help you in a North Carolina divorce proceeding, contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC. Contact us online or by phone 704-470-2440 today for a consultation.