How to Obtain a Divorce in North Carolina

By A.K. Jayne

If you wish to obtain a divorce in North Carolina, you can hire an attorney to handle the process for you or you can file on your own. If you opt to represent yourself in divorce proceedings, you will be known as a "pro se" litigant. You file divorce papers in the North Carolina county where you reside. Because specific rules for filing can vary from county to county, North Carolina State University suggests that you contact your county's clerk of court before you proceed with a divorce action.

Step 1

Review residency requirements for your North Carolina county. You need to meet a six-month residency requirement. In addition, you and your spouse have to live apart in separate homes for one year and one day before an uncontested divorce can be filed.

Step 2

Prepare a complaint for filing in North Carolina. Typically, North Carolina county courts will have this document and other papers needed for a divorce filing available for download. You will include information such as your marriage and separation dates, a listing of marital assets and debts, and the names and birth dates of your minor children.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Complete additional paperwork as required by the North Carolina county where you reside. For example, in Wake County, you need to fill out a civil action cover sheet and a civil summons. In Durham County, you complete an affidavit of judicial assignment, which is where you verify whether or not any other legal matters are pending in court for you or your spouse, along with a certificate of judgment.

Step 4

File the divorce papers with the county court clerk. Take the packet of papers to the clerk for a date stamp. The clerk will keep a copy for the court's file and return the others to you so you can have them served. When you file, you will also pay a filing fee.

Step 5

Serve the summons and complaint on your spouse. You can take them to the Sheriff's Department for service or serve them yourself by sending them to your spouse via certified mail. If you mail them, keep your white post office receipt and green return receipt card that is signed by your spouse as proof of delivery.

Step 6

Request a date for your divorce hearing. In North Carolina, this is done once you have received the summons back from the sheriff or the green return receipt card in the mail. For example, in Wake County, the earliest hearing date you can get is 30 days after the service date. The service date is not the date you filed your divorce papers, but the date when your spouse received them. You will be assigned your court date by mailing in a request form to the court. In some North Carolina counties, such as Durham County, you first call a family court employee to be given an available date before filling out the request form.

Step 7

Attend your divorce hearing. The process entails testifying to the information in the divorce complaint after being sworn in by a clerk. If there are minor children involved, the status of their custody and support will be discussed. Should the judge grant your divorce, she will sign the certificate of judgment. You should provide the court with three copies of the judgment.

Step 8

Serve a signed copy of the divorce judgment on your spouse. This can be done via mail or by the Sheriff, just as with the summons and complaint. Keep one copy of the judgment in a safe place. One copy remains with the court.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to File Your Own Divorce Papers in Tennessee


Related articles

The Retraction of a Divorce Filing

A divorce is not finalized until a judge signs off on the divorce decree and grants a final judgment in the case. Until that point, you and your spouse can opt to terminate the divorce and keep your marriage intact. The method you use to retract your divorce filing will vary depending on when and how you withdraw the petition. State laws differ with regard to the exact forms you must use and the requirements you must meet before you can retract a pending divorce.

Motion of Default in a Divorce in Illinois

You may file a motion of default in an Illinois divorce case if your spouse doesn't respond to your divorce petition. If the judge grants your motion, your divorce case moves forward and you'll get a final divorce judgment without your spouse's participation or signature. Procedures for a motion of default vary slightly in the different Illinois circuit courts, but some parts of the process are the same.

Checklist for No-Fault Divorce in Tennessee

Tennessee has two types of divorces, fault and no-fault. Fault divorces are granted on the premise that one party has done something wrong. Some examples of fault grounds for divorce include adultery, infertility, bigamy and being convicted of a felony. In a no-fault divorce action, neither party is deemed to be at fault. No-fault divorces are relatively simple and are well suited for couples that have few assets and debts. No-fault divorces are relatively popular because they are over within three to four months and are much cheaper than a fault divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to File an Answer to a Divorce Summons

When you receive a Summons and Complaint in a divorce action, you typically have 20 days in which to respond. Your ...

How Long to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

Although Illinois technically has a 90-day waiting period for divorce, this is deceptive. The three-month period ...

Information on How to Fill Out Divorce Papers in Kansas

A Kansas court can grant a divorce as soon as 60 days after you file your petition. The court’s divorce decree ...

How to Serve Divorce Papers Under Massachusetts State Law

Divorce is the termination of a marriage by court order. The person who wants a divorce starts a court action that ends ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED