Once you have been separated for over one year, you can get a divorce from your spouse. You have to live separate and apart for over one year, and at least one of the parties must want to get divorced. If you want to file a complaint for an absolute divorce in North Carolina, then you must have lived here for at least six (6) consecutive months preceding the filing of your complaint.
What if I want more than a divorce?
Clients often come in and tell us that they want to get divorced, but there are unresolved issues between the spouses, such as equitable distribution or alimony. If you have not divided all of your property and you have not asked for alimony, then you must do so before your absolute divorce is finalized. Once the absolute divorce decree is signed by a judge, you cannot make a claim for equitable distribution or alimony.
Why do I need to file for Equitable Distribution?
The presumption in North Carolina is that spouses are entitled to an equal distribution of marital property. This means that you are entitled to half of the house and/or land that you owned during the marriage, half of your spouse’s retirement account, half of the bank accounts, half of all of the property in the house, etc.
What happens to the house after an absolute divorce?
If you get a divorce from your spouse without first filing for equitable distribution, then you may be entitled to something or nothing at all from the house you lived in during the marriage. If you were not on the deed to the property, then you are not likely entitled to anything at all. If you were on the deed to the property, and you cannot agree on what to do with the property, then you will have to file a partition, which is a special proceedings action and can be very complicated.
Why do I need to file for Alimony?
If you need money from your spouse to continue paying for household bills and other monthly expenses to continue to maintain your accustomed standard of living, then you need to file a claim for alimony with the court. After the divorce is finalized, your ex-spouse no longer has an obligation to pay you any money for spousal support, and there will be nothing you can do about it.
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