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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
How does DivorceWriter work? 375
First, complete the basic pre-purchase portion of the online interview. Then, set up your... more
What happens after I receive my DivorceWriter documents? 1917
Just follow the step-by-step instructions included with your DivorceWriter package, which ... more
How do I make changes to my documents after I receive them? 1449
If you want to make changes to any of your documents after receiving them in the mail, you... more
Will DivorceWriter documents work in my state and/or in my situation? 1969
DivorceWriter's goal is to provide self-help divorce documents. However, DivorceWriter is ... more
I finished the online interview. How long will it take to receive my documents? 1981
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may al... more
I want to use DivorceWriter to prepare my own divorce documents. What do I do next? 1864
To get started, click on "Start the Process" above. You will be taken to our online inter... more
Can I use DivorceWriter in my state? 1979
DivorceWriter offers divorce documents for nearly every U.S. state and the District of Col... more
What if I need additional documents that were not included in my DivorceWriter package? 2000
Contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com with the name or form number of the the... more
What is the online interview? 1863
In as little as 10-15 minutes, the online interview allows you to enter the information ne... more
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.
Can you overnight my documents to me so that I can have them right away? 2586
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may a... more
How do I change my password? 1972
To change your password you must first log back into your account using the login section ... more
How do I make changes to my existing DivorceWriter account? 1973
If you already have a DivorceWriter account and need to make changes to your online interv... more
Does DivorceWriter provide documents for annulments? 2165
No. DivorceWriter does not currently provide documents for annulments.
What is included? 3784
The DivorceWriter package includes all forms needed to complete your divorce. These state... more
Will my documents be completed or will I have to fill them out myself when I receive them? 3121
For the most part, your DivorceWriter documents arrive completed with the information that... more
How do I serve a spouse that lives in a different state or country? 3810
The process for serving a spouse that lives in another state or country depends on the sta... more
I need a form that is not available online or in the DivorceWriter's supplemental forms database. How can I find a sample form elsewhere? 3352
Divorce documents are public record, so it is usually possible to obtain a copy of one or ... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide property and debts? 3360
Asking the Court for to divide property and debts fairly is standard language in the Divor... more
Do we need to notify the court of any address changes during the divorce? 3405
Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address... more
Does it matter which spouse files for divorce? 3502
Generally speaking, both spouses should have the same rights in a divorce proceeding regar... more
What is DivorceWriter's fax number? 3419
DivorceWriter's fax number is (800) 344 9889.
What's the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat? 3634
With an Acknowledgement, the notary is certifying that the signer appeared before the nota... more
Can I create another divorce in my account?  2712
Yes, you can purchase additional divorces from your Account Summary page. Login to your a... more
We were married in a foreign country. Can we divorce in the U.S.?  2635
As long as you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce in the state where y... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide our property and/or debts? 3361
The Divorce Petitions/Divorce Complaints in most states contain language asking the Court ... more
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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.
Do any documents require notarization? 1982
The filing instructions included with your DivorceWriter package will provide additional i... more
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.

What are the signature requirements for the documents I will receive? 899
The state-specific filing procedures included in the DivorceWriter package indicate which ... more
What if my spouse and I don't live in the same state? 1856
As long as one spouse meets the residency requirements for the state where the divorce wil... more
Do I have to divorce in the state where I was married? 1801
No. You can divorce in any state where you or your spouse meet the divorce residency requi... more
Can the wife change her name back during the divorce? 1807
Yes, the wife may restore her name to the name she had before the marriage took place. If ... more
How do I fix, or "amend" an error in a document I've already filed with the Court? 2934
If there was an error on one or more of the documents that you have already filed with the... more
Where can I find state-by-state information on how long it takes to get a divorce? 3834
Depending on the state where you live, it can take as little as two weeks and as much as s... more
Can my spouse have documents notarized in a different state? 2981
Yes. If your spouse is unable to have documents notarized by a Notary Public in the state... more
How do I determine if my income falls below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines? 3528
Some states require a person who is applying for a filing fee waiver to have an annual inc... more
My documents ask for the "Cause Number" instead of a "Case Number." Is this correct? 3231
Yes. In a number of U.S. states, the Courts use the term "Cause Number" instead of "Case ... more
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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.
What is the difference between child support and spousal support? 338
Spousal support is paid to one spouse by the other for the support and care of the receivi... more
We have agreed that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. What are some options? 1585
Two common ways for one spouse to receive spousal support payments from the other are (1) ... more
Can we specify how we will claim our child(ren) for income tax purposes? 2086
The DivorceWriter online interview allows you to designate which spouse will claim your mi... more
We have received our documents, but have decided that we do not want any parenting time schedule. Is this possible? 2239
The DivorceWriter online interview, which you completed previously, was designed to accomm... more
We have children. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 1802
Yes, you can use DivorceWriter to create your divorce forms even if you have children. Th... more
Do I have to pay income tax on spousal support payments that I receive? 1984
For federal income tax purposes, spousal support is commonly considered taxable income for... more
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.
What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and child custody/parenting time? 3651
If you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning child suppo... more
What is the home state of the children under UCCJEA? 3543
While you are entitled to file for divorce in any state where the residency requirements a... more
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Can I receive a portion of my spouse's retirement plan even though his/her retirement is several years away? 46
The most common way for one spouse to secure the right to a portion of the other spouse's ... more
Do we have to list the debts we have agreed to divide? 1989
About 30% of DivorceWriter customers list debts. The debts listed will appear on the sett... more
We want to transfer real estate into only one spouse's name. Do we need a Quit Claim Deed? 311
Generally, if you want to transfer jointly held real estate into the name of only one spou... more
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
Can we divide/list as many items of personal property as we want? 1764
Choose to list all, some, or no property. The customer decides which property, if any, to ... more
Do I need to list the legal description of my real estate? 757
It is generally sufficient to just list the physical address of the property (street, city... more
What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate? 2780
The legal description is usually a one to two paragraph description of land that includes ... more
When can I record the quit claim deed my spouse signed? 3811
One spouse may choose to sign a quit claim deed transferring his or her interest in the ma... more
Why do my DivorceWriter documents say that we do not have life insurance or other property that we actually do have? 2726
Some states require divorcing spouses to provide information on several different types of... more
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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.)
I received my DivorceWriter package today, but I'm not sure I want to file for divorce right away. How how long are these papers good for? 2229
Unsigned divorce documents do not have an expiration date per se. Applicable time periods... more
I can't find my spouse. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 2452
DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who ... more
I am not sure my marriage was legal. Do I even need a divorce? 1970
DivorceWriter is for people who want to end their marriages. If you have any questions reg... more
What if I have an out of state driver's license or no license at all? 995
If the spouse who files for divorce does not have a valid in-state driver's license, it ma... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. Can we still use DivorceWriter? 2234
Yes, as long as your spouse is capable of receiving documents and signing them in front of... more
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
How do we get documents notarized in a foreign country? 2449
The meaning of the term "notary" varies widely from country to country. To find a Notary ... more
Can I use divorce forms even though they contain gender-specific terms? 3230
One thing that has lagged behind following the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwid... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use? 2745
You may use the address at the facility where your spouse is currently incarcerated. Divo... more
How do I end a civil union or domestic partnership? 3446
When recognized in the state, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships can be entered int... more
Which states allow same-sex divorce? 3530
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nati... more
Ready to Begin now?
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.
Where can I find additional help? 2410
Additional help is available. Click here to find legal help from the American Bar Associat... more
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If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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