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How to Get an Online Divorce in North Carolina

Each state has its laws and requirements for divorce, and North Carolina is no exception. To get a dissolution of marriage in NC, spouses need to go through a series of procedures and prepare a suit of the documents. Most importantly, the interests of the petitioner and the respondent should coincide.

In this article, you will read about the specifics of marriage dissolution proceedings and online divorce in North Carolina. You will also learn how to quickly and inexpensively fill out divorce papers without leaving your home.

How to Start a Divorce

Residency Requirements

As in any other state, the main requirement for obtaining permission to apply for a divorce is residency. In North Carolina, a plaintiff must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. It does not matter if spouses were married in another state.

Separate Cohabitation

Spouses who want to file for a no-fault and uncontested divorce in North Carolina, must live separately and apart for at least one year to ensure that reconciliation is impossible. State law requires parties to occupy separate houses during this time.

The separation requirement is essential as it is an indication of the definite intention to get a divorce. If the couple decides to live together again, that’s ok. But the year of separation will be canceled, and divorce is impossible. If the spouses once again decide they want a divorce, they will have to restart the one-year separate cohabitation period.

Filling Out the Divorce Forms

Regardless of the type of divorce, it’s required to complete paperwork.

The primary forms spouses will need are:

  1. Complaint For Absolute Divorce;

  2. Civil Summons (Form AOC-CV-100);

  3. Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet (Form AOC-CV-750);

  4. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Affidavit (Form AOC-G-250).

In addition to these documents, it may also be needed to fill out a few others. It all depends on the complexity of the case and the requirements of the state. It’s possible to fill out an application for divorce online or at the local court. We will consider the first option.

There are two ways to prepare the documents. The first is to fill out and file for divorce through government websites thanks to the e-filing system. But online filing is not always available. It’s better to ask the court if the petitioner can file a claim online through the court website without a lawyer. The second option is to use the affordable services of online divorce companies.

Preparing divorce papers over the internet allows file for divorce without an attorney. It also can significantly reduce the overall cost of divorce. But it is essential to understand that to use this option, both spouses must agree on property division, alimony, child support, and so on.

So what is the advantage of online divorce companies over the lawyer's services? Internet divorce paper preparation systems help parties fill out the required forms. Filling out legal documents can be confusing, as a person does not get divorced every day. Web divorce service asks a client to answer some questions about their marriage and aspects of separation. It’s possible to do it yourself or with a spouse. Based on the answers, the system selects the correct forms and fills them in accordance with the law.

Once all the forms are completed and signed, a spouse can file them with the court. When applying, a petitioner needs to pay filing fees. Clients can edit their papers in the internet divorce system in case of mistakes. If the court rejects documents due to errors, a petitioner must pay additional fees to fix the mistakes and file papers again.

When the court officially accepts the documents, the divorce process begins. The waiting period in North Carolina usually takes at least 30 days. It all depends on the workload of the court.

Divorce From Bed and Board or Absolute Divorce

In North Carolina, a spouse filing for divorce does not need to prove the second party’s fault to obtain an absolute divorce (total dissolution of marriage). When filling out divorce papers, the petitioner can indicate guilt as a reason for divorce. The reasons in the documents are designated as grounds for divorce.

A divorce based on marital misconduct in North Carolina is called divorce from bed and board. It can be obtained if:

  • a spouse left the family;

  • a spouse kicked the second party out of the family house for no reason;

  • a have been abused;

  • a spouse has made the second party’s life unbearable by their actions;

  • the spouse has abused alcohol or drugs;

  • a spouse has committed adultery.

The difference between divorce from bed and board and absolute divorce is that spouses cannot completely dissolve the marriage in the first case. Likewise, they cannot remarry until they get an absolute divorce.

Getting a divorce from bed and board, the court does not require separate cohabitation. If the court grants the divorce, the house owner has the right to expel their ex. If one spouse is at fault for breaking the marriage, it can also improve the second party’s position when dealing with child custody and spousal support.

After the separate cohabitation period expires during a divorce from bed and board, spouses can re-apply for a divorce, and this time get an absolute divorce.

How to Speed Up the Divorce Process

It is a mistake to believe that it’s only needed to complete divorce online to accelerate the marriage dissolution. Parties will need to solve several important issues.

1. Uncontested Divorce

If spouses do not want the trial to take a year, they should negotiate a mutual settlement agreement with each other

2. DIY Divorce or with a Lawyer Assistance

If spouses can settle all aspects of the divorce peacefully, they can do without a lawyer’s help. Meaning they are allowed to collect and file documents with the court themselves, and it’s legal.

3. Division of Property

North Carolina law stipulates that an equal property division is a fair decision for both spouses. But the law also provides for the possibility of unequal property division, depending on various factors, such as:

  • contribution to the acquisition of family property;

  • the value of marital property;

  • marriage length;

  • current age, the physical and emotional state of the spouses;

  • marriage agreement;

  • conditions of custody of children;

Therefore, if spouses do not want the court to divide the property at its discretion, they should negotiate with each other in advance. Perhaps one of them wants to keep a car, and the other wants to keep the house.

4. Child Custody

If spouses have minor children, they should also resolve the issue of their custody. It can be joint or sole. If left to the court, the court’s decision will be based on the following factors:

  • age and gender of children;

  • wishes of children;

  • parents' wishes;

  • the health of all participants;

  • attachment of children to school, society;

  • relationships of children with parents and other family members.

5. Spousal Support

Spousal support can be provided to a spouse during or after divorce. The court appoints it under the following conditions:

  • the spouse is mentally or physically unable to support themselves;

  • does not have enough funds to support themselves and the child;

  • the spouse needs to change their place of residence to get a job;

  • the spouse needs to get an education to get a job since they could not do this in marriage.

Spousal support can be temporary or permanent. Temporary support is appointed for the period of the divorce proceedings or up to three years after the divorce so that the spouse can find a job, get an education, etc.

Final Words

If spouses want their divorce to be as fast as possible, they need to resolve all potential issues. That way, the judge does not waste time on hearings to find out the facts but can immediately decide.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTImes

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