How to Complete a North Carolina Divorce Petition

by Beverly Bird

The opening step of the divorce process varies by name in different jurisdictions. In some states, you must file a petition for divorce to initiate the process. In North Carolina, the necessary document is a complaint for divorce. North Carolina’s divorce process is relatively streamlined, and the complaint isn’t difficult to complete.

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Step 1

Access a form for a complaint for divorce. In North Carolina, this is a short form consisting of only a few paragraphs and you can get one at most county courthouses. Tell the court clerk if you have children because North Carolina has two different complaint forms, one if you have children and one if you do not. You can also get forms from an online document provider.

Step 2

Write the name of your county at the top of the page in the space provided. This upper part of the page is the complaint’s “caption,” and you must also fill in your name and your spouse’s name in the appropriate blanks. If you’re filing for divorce, you’re the plaintiff and your spouse is the defendant.

Step 3

Tell the court the North Carolina county in which you reside in paragraph 1. This paragraph also asks you to attest that you’ve lived there for at least six months. This is North Carolina’s residency requirement for filing for divorce.

Step 4

Write your spouse’s address in paragraph 2. He does not have to be a resident of North Carolina if you are.

Step 5

Tell the court the date you were married in paragraph 3. This paragraph also asks you to state the date you and your spouse separated. This date is your grounds for divorce. In North Carolina, you only have two options for grounds. One is a separation of at least one year and the other is that your spouse is incurably insane.

Step 6

Repeat the date you and your spouse separated in paragraph 4. This paragraph also asks you to attest under oath that you and your spouse have lived in two separate residences since that time, with no intention of resuming your marital relationship.

Step 7

Tell the court about your children in paragraph 5, if you have any. If you asked the court clerk for a complaint without children, you don’t have to write anything in this paragraph. Otherwise, list the names of your children.

Step 8

Sign the complaint beneath the last unnumbered paragraph. The last paragraph is your “prayer for relief” and it asks the court to grant you a divorce.