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North Carolina Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer North Carolina divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
STATE PROCEDURES
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in North Carolina? 1269
There are only two grounds for absolute divorce in North Carolina: 1) Separation for One Year; or 2) Incurable Insanity of One Spouse and Separation for Three Years. DivorceWriter is designed for customers who wish to divorce on the ground of separation for one year, which requires the husband and wife to have lived separate and apart for one year, and one spouse to have resided in North Carolina for at least six months before filing for divorce. The vast majority of marriages are dissolved based on the ground of separation for one year. If you have additional questions on the grounds for divorce in North Carolina, you may wish to contact an attorney.
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in North Carolina? 1272
The length of the process varies based on how long it takes to get service of your spouse and how soon the clerk schedules the divorce hearing. Generally, it should take approximately 60 days after the Complaint is filed.
How much is the filing fee in North Carolina? 1271
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The divorce filing fee varies from county to county, but is typically $225.00 with an additional $10.00 for a wife to resume a former last name.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in North Carolina? 1275
In North Carolina, Plaintiff serves Defendant by personally placing a file-stamped copy of the divorce papers into Defendant’s hand. (Note: Wake County does not accept personal service by Plaintiff. Instead, Plaintiff must serve Defendant by certified mail with a return-receipt requested.)
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 1273
The spouse who filed the divorce, also known as the Plaintiff, attends a divorce hearing approximately 60 days after the Complaint is filed. The non-filing spouse, also known as the Defendant, must receive notice of the court date and time, but is not required to attend the hearing.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in North Carolina? 1274
1. Complete the DivorceWriter online interview, which provides the information that will be transferred onto your North Carolina divorce forms.

2. File an initial set of documents.

3. Serve your spouse with a copy of the documents and officially notify him or her that you have filed for divorce.

4. File a second set of documents.

5. The spouse the filed for divorce, also known as the Plaintiff, schedules and attends a brief divorce hearing approximately 60 days after the initial divorce documents are filed.

6. After your hearing, the judge signs your final divorce documents, which officially ends your marriage.
Where do I file the divorce documents in North Carolina? 1270
In North Carolina, divorces are filed in the District Court located in the county of filing.
What documents are included in the self-prepared North Carolina DivorceWriter package? 1276
The standard self-prepared DivorceWriter document package contains the following:
  • Complaint for Absolute Divorce (with Verification to be notarized)
  • Civil Summons
  • Acceptance of Service
  • Certificate of Service (for Divorce Judgment)
  • Separation Agreement (included if the parties have listed property or debts to be separated and/or if there are minor children)
  • Notice of Hearing
  • Divorce Judgment

Additionally, customers with minor children will also receive the following:
  • Affidavit as to Status of Minor Child
  • Child Support Worksheet
What is the difference between "absolute divorce" and "divorce from bed and board?" 161
North Carolina allows for both absolute divorce and divorce from bed and board. A divorce from bed and board is essentially a legal separation. Neither spouse is free to remarry after a divorce from bed and board. However, after an absolute divorce, both parties are allowed to remarry.

DivorceWriter provides North Carolina customers with the tools to self-prepare their own absolute divorce documents.

When contacting the Clerk's office or making any other inquiries regarding a case, using the term "divorce" by itself may confuse the Clerk.

Additional information is available here.
What are the North Carolina residency requirements for filing for divorce? 1268
State Residency Requirement: At least one spouse must have resided in North Carolina for a period of at least six months before filing.

County Residency Requirement: The divorce may be filed in the North Carolina county in which either of the spouses reside.

(North Carolina Statutes - Chapter 50 - Sections: 50-8)
What is considered to be the date of separation in North Carolina? 159
In North Carolina, the term "separation date" refers to the date when the spouses stopped living together.

A separation date is required to complete your documents.

Additional information on the separation requirement can be found here.

Do I have to pay extra to change my name back to a former or maiden name? 163
No. If you select the name change option on the name change portion of the online interview, the request will be automatically added to your DivorceWriter documents at no additional cost to you.

Additional information on obtaining a change of name in North Carolina is available at: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
How is child support calculated in North Carolina? 158
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found here.
What if my spouse and I have agreed to a child support amount that is different from the standard amount? 1577
Spouses who both want to use a child support amount that is different from the state calculation have the option to enter that information in this portion of the interview. In order to use a different support amount, the customer can do the following:
  • Select "no" to using the payment calculation;
  • Enter the existing support amount in the space provided for monthly payment amount; and
  • Enter your reason for using an amount different from the state calculation.
Note that the information entered here, including the reason for the deviation, will be transferred to the applicable documents exactly as it is entered by the customer.
Can child support be modified? 162
Yes. A child support order may be modified at any time upon the filing of a motion and a showing of changed circumstances by either party. Additional information on child support modification is available here.
How do you complete the Affidavit As to Status of Minor Child form when parents have agreed to joint custody of our child(ren)? 3112
The Affidavit As to Status of Minor Child form has a box that reads "I know of a person as listed below, who has physical custody or claims to have custody or visitation rights with respect to the above named child." If the parties have agreed to joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or both, the Plaintiff spouse checks this box, fills in the name of the Defendant spouse, and then checks the appropriate boxes concerning the type of custody that the Defendant spouse will have.
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PROPERTY AND DEBTS
Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate? 597
The DivorceWriter online interview allows customers to list not only the street address, c... more
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
What if one spouse is living in another state or in a foreign country? 1252
The self-prepared DivorceWriter package contains instructions for the spouse that files for divorce to hand-deliver the divorce papers to the other spouse. If your spouse is living too far away to serve him/her in person, you will need to make alternate arrangements for service. Contact a lawyer for further assistance. (Note: Since Wake County requires service by certified mail with a return-receipt, it is probably relatively easy to serve a spouse that lives in another state if you are filing for divorce in this particular county.)
What if one spouse is in the military? 803
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in t... more
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Who can I contact if I decide to hire an attorney? 166
Information on the North Carolina Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service is available here.
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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