In this article, you will learn about:
- What elements must be considered when filing for divorce.
- The various timelines available in filing for divorce.
When Couples Do Decide That They Will Be Proceeding With The Divorce In North Carolina, What Are The Options Generally To Proceed?
There are some special rules when it comes to proceeding with a divorce in North Carolina. One is that a person cannot file for what North Carolina calls an “absolute divorce” until they’ve been legally separated for a year. This means that a couple or individual can’t file for the decree of divorce until that year and day have passed. It is important to understand that separation specifically means that the couple is not living under the same roof, and that at least one person intended that the separation be permanent during that time. With this in mind, if one of the parties is intending to get divorced, then they cannot be living under the same roof for at least a year and a day. Even if they say they’ve been separated, they can’t be sharing the same house for financial convenience.
North Carolina does not require a party to get a Separation Agreement. In addition to this, they’re not required to put a parenting plan together, file for child support, or enter into an equitable settlement prior to the decree. However, for the year-and-a-day before divorce, it is crucial to understand that even if both parties are getting along at a distance before divorce, there are ways to legally safeguard each spouse in the event that the situation becomes more difficult. Retaining legal counsel allows both parties to arrange terms that they can both agree on during the year-and-a-day interim that will provide a more stable situation leading up to the divorce. This can come in the form of a Separation Agreement, which gives both parties legal protection on a temporary basis until they can file for the final divorce. A Separation Agreement also decreases the likelihood that the parties will have to fight over differences in court.
It is worth noting that one of the reasons North Carolina does this is to provide people with the opportunity to reconcile. This period gives people a chance to obtain counseling or find a way to reconcile, especially if there are children involved.
Is There Any Benefit To Filing For Divorce Before My Spouse In North Carolina?
Many legal professionals have differing opinions, but our firm hasn’t found any benefit for an individual to file for divorce before their spouse, from a neutral perspective. Generally speaking, if the separation has been handled in a prudent way, going with the settlement route prior to filing for divorce eliminates many complications that can arise. That being said, there can be an advantage to early filing in the case where one party may try to get to the gate first with false accusations regarding the nature of the marriage, and proving otherwise can be very difficult. This occurs in an acrimonious divorce, and it often involves children. The hardest part of litigation when children are involved is that when false allegations are coming from the other side (which is more common than one would think), it can be difficult to prove the false allegations are unfounded.
All this to say, there could be some advantage to filing first if there is foul play involved, which unfortunately does happen. In addition to this, people don’t always tell their lawyers the truth, so each side may be disputing a conflict that arose due to a false accusation, which drastically complicates the divorce process. Ultimately, honesty is always the best policy, and in a divorce, when each party is truthful, the outcome is more favorable for everybody involved.