Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina

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An uncontested divorce can turn out to be a two-way or one-way process. In a two-way process, both the divorcing partners take active part in reaching an agreement regarding all the major issues of the separation. In a one-way process, the Defendant simply does not respond and the Plaintiff has to proceed with the default process. Thus there are various aspects of this type of dissolution. You need to know the basic laws and procedures of the state from where you are filing for the case. For example, when you are willing to fight for an uncontested case in North Carolina, you must be Familiar with the specific state rules and proceedings.

North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. In this state, the Plaintiff and the Defendant are the separating partners who file for a dissolution case and respond to the action respectively. Before the complaint is filed, either the Plaintiff or the Defendant must have resided in this state for minimum 6 months. Anyone of the spouses may file a petition only when they have lived separate and apart for a period of one year.

These are the basic requirements. Other than this a good knowledge of the different steps and procedures is needed so that one can fight for their rights in a convenient way.

Steps of Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina

The 5 steps of an undisputed case are described below in brief:

  • The court papers are filed that ask for a termination of marriage as well as care of the children and division of property.
  • The Defendant is notified that the case has been filed.
  • A hearing is scheduled.
  • The divorcing partners are notified regarding the hearing date.
  • The divorcing partners have to attend the hearing. The judge signs the judgment that grants the divorce.

The Defendant is served a Summons. As per the Summons, the Defendant has 30 days within which he or she should respond to the Complaint. The Petitioner files an Affidavit of Service in the court. This affidavit is evidence that the Defendant has been served the properly. The Service of process is done by a certified mail or by the Sheriff in the county of residence of the Defendant.

Two routes of Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina

The court procedure can proceed along 2 paths.

In the first path, the divorcing couple reaches a consensus on all issues of the divorce like alimony, child support, child custody, property division and distribution. Further, the divorcing couple develops a separation agreement and in the presence of the notary public, puts down their signatures on it. The next step is to properly serve the Defendant. Then, it is compulsory only for the Petitioner to attend the hearing. The court procedure can get over quickly after the Defendant signs Acceptance of Service.

In the second path, the Respondent simply does not respond to the Petition. In such a case, the default procedure can be followed.

The common factor in both of the above-mentioned routes is that the action starts when the Divorce Complaint, Civil Summons and the Verification is filed. At the time of filing the Complaint or prior to the final hearing, the Plaintiff is supposed to file the following documents:

  • Court Judgment
  • Certificate of Absolute Dissolution or Annulment
  • Separation Agreement

If the divorcing couple has minor children, an Affidavit must be filed by the Plaintiff regarding the Status of the Minor Child for each unemancipated child. This form consists of the following data:

  • Information regarding the child
  • Place of residence of the child
  • Custody decisions
  • Status of the child

Sometimes it may happen that the Defendant fails to reply to the Complaint. The Defendant must still be notified by a Notice of Hearing.

All divorces are not easy. But these can be made easy by following certain golden rules. If you want to obtain an easy dissolution, you have to be patient, confident and positive-minded. Along with this, you need to know the latest developments in state laws so that you are aware of the progress of your case. If you hire a lawyer, this knowledge will help you realize whether your lawyer is taking the case in the right direction or not. For a person who is undergoing this procedure, it is not possible to learn all the concerned laws. But he/ she must be aware of the basic procedures. This is true about a person fighting an uncontested divorce process in North Carolina also.

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