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5 Things You Need To Know About Divorce In North Carolina

5 Things You Need To Know About Divorce In North Carolina

by Ruhia

Are you considering getting a divorce in North Carolina? Before you make any life-altering decisions, you must have a grasp of the key aspects of the divorce process in this state to give you an insight and how you can actively participate in shaping the terms of your divorce.

According to the report, North Carolina was in the top 15 states with the highest divorce rates of about 10.7% in the previous year. Lehnhardt Price Family Law says that fair and straightforward divorce terms can help to create a solid foundation for your new family structure.

Studies have shown that divorce rates often experience seasonal peaks, with higher filings following periods like summer vacations and the winter holidays, which could influence the timing of discussions and preparations at these times of the year.

This simple guide will empower you with the knowledge needed for the divorce process in North Carolina so you can make well-informed choices in this challenging time.

Grounds for Divorce in North Carolina

If you’re stuck in a loveless marriage, it’s important to understand the grounds for divorce in North Carolina. In this state, there are two main grounds for divorce: separation and incurable insanity.

First, let’s talk about separation. To initiate a divorce based on separation, you and your spouse must maintain separate residences for a minimum period of one year. During this time, you should not have any intention of reconciling and should not engage in any sexual relations.

The second ground for divorce is incurable insanity, which requires a spouse to be institutionalized for at least three years due to a mental illness. It’s important to note that you cannot file for divorce based on incurable insanity if you have been living together during the time of the spouse’s illness.

Child Custody Laws and Considerations

Child custody laws in North Carolina present various considerations that can significantly impact the outcome of a divorce. When determining custody, the court focuses on the best interests of the child such as the child’s age, physical and mental health, and relationship with each parent.

The court also considers each parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment. If there’s evidence of domestic violence or substance abuse, it can greatly affect custody decisions. In cases where one parent is deemed unfit or unable to care for the child, sole custody may be awarded.

North Carolina encourages co-parenting and joint custody arrangements, as long as it’s in the child’s best interests.

Property Division in North Carolina Divorce

During the divorce process in North Carolina, the division of property can significantly impact the future financial stability of both parties involved. It is important to understand how property division works in North Carolina divorce cases.

In North Carolina, the guiding principle for property division is equitable distribution, ensuring a fair allocation of marital assets rather than an automatic equal split. Marital property includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, is not subject to division and includes assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts.

Factors considered in property division include the duration of the marriage, the income and earning potential of each spouse, the contributions made by each party, and the needs of any children involved. It’s advisable to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure a fair and just property division in your divorce proceedings.

Alimony and Spousal Support

In North Carolina, alimony can be awarded to a dependent spouse by the court, taking into consideration factors such as the duration of the marriage, the income and earning potential of both spouses and the standard of living during the marriage.

There are different types of alimony, including post-separation support and permanent alimony.

  • Post-separation support is typically awarded during the separation period and ends when a final alimony order is entered.
  • Permanent alimony, on the other hand, is awarded after the divorce is finalized and may continue indefinitely or until the recipient spouse remarries or cohabitates.

It is important to note that alimony laws in North Carolina are complex, so consult with a knowledgeable attorney for a deeper understanding of your rights and obligations regarding spousal support.

The Divorce Process in North Carolina

The divorce process in North Carolina can be overwhelming, but rest assured that with the guidance of a compassionate attorney, you’ll find the support and clarity you need to move forward. Here’s how the divorce process goes:

  1. File a complaint for divorce, which outlines the reasons for the divorce and any requests for child custody, property division, or spousal support.
  2. You must serve the complaint to your spouse, who then has 30 days to respond. If your spouse fails to respond, you may proceed with the divorce.
  3. If they do respond, the next step is negotiation or mediation to settle.
  4. Once the judge issues a divorce decree, the marriage is legally dissolved.
  5. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial, where a judge will make the final decisions.

It’s important to have a knowledgeable attorney by your side throughout this process to ensure your rights are protected and to help you with the complexities of North Carolina divorce law.


From the grounds for divorce to navigating child custody laws and property division, it’s important to be informed. Understanding the divorce process itself will make the entire experience less complicated. Remember, knowledge is power, and being well-informed can help you in this challenging time with confidence.

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