Can You File for a Divorce in North Carolina Without Having a Lawyer?

By Beverly Bird

North Carolina is one of the easiest states in which to divorce, but it can also be one of the most difficult because you must deal with property claims separately from your actual divorce. Depending on your personal situation, you may be able to deal with your proceedings just fine without a lawyer – and legally, you're entitled to do so. Without professional advice, however, it's very easy to make a mistake that you won't be able to undo later.

North Carolina is one of the easiest states in which to divorce, but it can also be one of the most difficult because you must deal with property claims separately from your actual divorce. Depending on your personal situation, you may be able to deal with your proceedings just fine without a lawyer – and legally, you're entitled to do so. Without professional advice, however, it's very easy to make a mistake that you won't be able to undo later.

Filing for Divorce

Some North Carolina counties make it easy for you to file for divorce on your own by offering self-service centers. If all you want is a divorce – you don't care about alimony, dividing your marital property or setting custody terms – you can simply file, then appear before a judge to give some brief testimony regarding the facts of your case. You can be divorced that easily. If you use an attorney, you don't even have to appear in court – your lawyer can handle the appearance for you.

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Equitable Distribution Claims

If you don't ask the court to decide issues of property or alimony as part of your divorce, and if you and your spouse don't reach a written agreement regarding these matters, you can't go back to court after your divorce is final and ask the judge to decide these issues. You can only go back to court over issues relating to your children. If you want the court to deal with property or alimony issues, you must file a separate complaint for this relief as part of your divorce action. Property division is a tricky aspect of divorce, and you may need a lawyer to assist you.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Can You Write Your Own Divorce and Just Have It Notorized in the State of Pennsylvania?

References

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What Is a Counterclaim for Divorce?

When your spouse serves you with divorce papers, the worst thing you can do is nothing. If you don't respond, you run the risk of having the judge grant your spouse everything she asked for in her petition or complaint for divorce. You could find that you've lost custody, or a fair division of your marital property. You have a choice regarding how to answer your spouse's divorce papers, and a counterclaim offers you the most protection.

Divorce Without a Financial Settlement

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Divorce can be frustrating and stressful enough, without the process bogging down due to an unresponsive opposing counsel. The court process for divorces is comprised of very specific stages. If your husband's attorney does not respond during any or all of these stages, your case stalls. If you don't have your own lawyer to force a response from his fellow lawyer, there are options that you can exercise yourself.

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