Filing for Divorce in Charlotte
Divorce and Separation in North Carolina
There are many misconceptions about what constitutes a "legal separation" in the State of North Carolina. To this point, there is no requirement that you enter into any type of Separation Agreement for you to be legally separated under the law. Rather, as a general rule (with some caveats), in the State of North Carolina you are separated if you and your spouse are living in separate residences and it is the intent of at least one of you to be separated with the intent to obtain a divorce in the future.
Divorce in North Carolina
The concept of separation logically leads us to the concept of divorce. As you may recall, if you are in fact legally married, then you obtained a marriage license from your local courthouse. In this vein, a divorce is the process by which the legal union between you and your spouse (which was created by the marriage license) is terminated.
In the State of North Carolina, there is only one requirement for obtaining a divorce. Specifically, you merely must have been separated from your spouse for one year and one day. As such, assuming you have met this requirement, you may file for divorce from your spouse. Your request will be granted unless your spouse is able to successfully contest your assertion that you and your spouse have in fact been separated for one year and one day.
It is important to note at this point that the actual divorce should really be the final step in the process of not only dissolving the marriage, but also in terms of negotiating and resolving all of the issues which are associated with a marriage. Specifically, while a divorce dissolves the legal bond between you and your spouse, a divorce judgment does not usually resolve the issues of child custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), and property division (equitable distribution). Rather, upon separation from your spouse, or before separation if possible, you should consult with a Charlotte divorce attorney in regards to how you may resolve the issues associated with your marriage well before it comes time to obtain a divorce.
This process typically involves the negotiation and execution of a private contract which is called a separation, property settlement, alimony, child custody, and child support agreement (or any combination or variation thereof depending upon your individual circumstances). Alternatively, if negotiation of the relevant issues is not successful, you and your attorney may choose to file a lawsuit with the Court in order to resolve the custodial and/or financial issues associated with your marriage. In other words, even though the State of North Carolina requires that you be separated for one year and one day before you may obtain a divorce, you can immediately move forward with resolving the custodial and/or financial issues which flow from a marriage once separation has been initiated.
Finally, a word of caution: You must have either resolved any spousal support (alimony) or property division (equitable distribution) issues through a private contract, OR, you must have filed your claims regarding these issues notifying the Court that you need assistance, prior to the entry of a Judgment of Divorce. Otherwise, you will lose your right to pursue these issues once a Divorce between you and your spouse has been granted.
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