North Carolina provides for absolute divorce, or the dissolution of the marital contract which terminates the marriage. In North Carolina, there are two kinds of absolute divorces: a no-fault divorce, wherein the parties continuously live separate and apart for one year, and divorce due to incurable insanity, which requires three years of separation and a diagnosis of insanity of one of the spouses.
Overwhelmingly, Lake Norman and Huntersville spouses utilize the no-fault divorce procedure. In order to obtain a no-fault divorce, the parties must show the following statutory requirements have been met:
1. The parties have lived continuously separate and apart for at least one year.
2. Either the Husband or Wife has lived in the state of North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
3. At least one party seeks to have the marriage dissolved.
Requirement One: Living Separate and Apart
In order to meet the statutory requirement, a couple must physically live in separate residences for the duration of at least one year, and they must not resume the marital relationship. It is not enough for the couple to move into separate bedrooms in the same house. In the event the parties resume the marital relationship, as determined by a totality of the circumstances, the separation halts, and the parties are considered to have reconciled. If the parties choose to separate again, they must restart the clock on the one year period before they are eligible for divorce.
Requirement Two: Six Months Residency
North Carolina requires at least one party to the marriage to have lived in North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing for divorce in order to establish jurisdiction, or the right to hear the case, over the matter. Residency, or domicile, is established with a two-part test: physical presence and the intent to remain permanently. As long as one party to the marriage physically lives in North Carolina and has the intent to remain, that couple has met the jurisdictional requirement for divorce.
Requirement Three: One Party Seeks Dissolution
North Carolina does not require both parties to consent to a divorce. Rather, as long as one spouse has the intent and desire to dissolve the marriage, and all other requirements are met, the divorce can and will be authorized.
While these elements seem simple enough, divorce can quickly become more complicated depending on one’s particular situation. Having a Lake Norman/Huntersville lawyer through this process can eliminate some of the confusion, ensure that all of your questions are answered and that your rights are protected.
Ready for a consultation? Contact us online to discuss your need for a lawyer for divorce purposes, or call us at 855-322-2355.