Either spouse must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce. Divorce may be filed for in the county of residence of either spouse.
Legal Grounds for Divorce in North Carolina
No Fault Divorce:
- Living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year.
General or Fault Based Grounds:
- Confinement for incurable insanity for 3 years.
- Incurable mental illness based on examinations for 3 years.
Legal Separation in North Carolina:
The grounds for legal separation (divorce from bed and board) are as follows:
- Alcoholism or drug addiction.
- Cruel and inhuman treatment endangering the life of the spouse.
- Personal indignities rendering life burdensome and intolerable.
- Turning a spouse out-of-doors.
Either spouse must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce from bed and board.
Simplified/Special Divorce Procedures in North Carolina:
There are no legal provisions in North Carolina for simplified divorce procedures. However, premarital and marital property settlement agreements are specifically recognized as valid. The payment or non-payment of alimony may be the subject of a marital settlement agreement.
Divorce Mediation or Counseling Requirements in North Carolina:
If child custody is a contested issue, the court may order the parents to submit to mandatory mediation of that issue.
Alimony/Spousal Support in North Carolina:
Either spouse may be awarded alimony. The factors for consideration are:
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market and their incomes.
- The mental, physical, and emotional conditions of the spouses.
- The marital misconduct of the spouses.
- The ages of the spouses.
- The contribution of 1 spouse to the education, training, or earning power of the other spouse.
- The effect of a spouse having primary custody of a child.
- The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary for a spouse to acquire. sufficient education or training to become self-sufficient.
- The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.
- The tax consequences.
- Any other factor the court deems just and equitable.
The court may require bond for security for the alimony payments. Alimony may not be paid to the spouse committing adultery.
Child Custody in North Carolina:
Joint or sole child custody is determined according to the interests and welfare of the child. There No preference will be given to one parent over the other. Joint custody will be considered upon the request of either parent. The court may also grant exclusive custody to one parent. Any custody order will include terms, including visitation that will best promote the interest and welfare of the child.
A custody order may provide for visitation rights by electronic communication. In these instances, the court shall consider the following:
- Whether electronic communication is in the best interest of the minor child.
- Whether equipment to communicate by electronic means is available, accessible, and affordable to the parents of the minor child.
- Any other factors the court deems appropriate in determining whether to grant visitation by electronic communication.
The court may set guidelines for electronic communication, including the hours in which the communication may be made, the allocation of costs between the parents in implementing the communication with the child, and the furnishing of access information between parents necessary to facilitate the electronic communication. Electronic communication may be used to supplement visitation but not as a replacement or substitution for custody or visitation. is no presumption that either parent is better suited to have custody.
Child Support in North Carolina:
Both parents are primarily responsible for the support of a minor child and either parent may be ordered to pay child support. The factors to be considered are:
- The needs of the child.
- The earnings, estate, conditions, and accustomed standard of living of the child and the parents.
- The childcare and homemaker contributions of each parent.
- Any other relevant factors. There are official child support guidelines which are presumed to be correct, unless there is a showing that the amount of support would be unjust or inappropriate.
Child support worksheets are also provided. Child support payments may be required to be paid through the clerk of the court. Income withholding may be used if child support payments become delinquent. Child support obligations may be required to be secured by a bond or mortgage. The court may require a parent to provide health insurance coverage for a child.
Property Distribution in North Carolina:
North Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state. Separate property, including:
- Any property acquired before the marriage.
- Any gifts and inheritances acquired during the marriage.
- Any property acquired in exchange for separate property.
- Any increase in the value of separate property, will be retained by the spouse who owns it.
Marital property (property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage and before the separation, including any pension or retirement fund benefits) will be divided equally unless the court finds that an equal division is not fair. The division is based on the following factors:
- Any direct or indirect contributions to the career or education of the other spouse.
- Any depletion or waste of property.
- The net value of the property.
- The liquid or non-liquid character of the property.
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker.
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective.
- Any increase or decrease in the value of the separate property of the spouse during the marriage or the depletion of the separate property for marital purposes.
- The length of the marriage.
- The age and health of the spouses.
- The federal income tax consequences of the court’s division of the property
- Liabilities of the spouses.
- Any retirement benefits, including social security, civil service, military and railroad retirement benefits.
- Any prior alimony or child support obligations of each spouse.
- The desirability of the spouse with custody of any children occupying the marital residence.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the spouses.
Disclaimer: The divorce law information provided is for informational purposes only not for legal advice purposes. This information is general in nature. Each jurisdiction has specific code and court procedures. A local divorce attorney is your best source for how divorce is treated in your jurisdiction. Before making any legal decisions we encourage you to consult with a local attorney…do not make decisions based on general state divorce law.