Divorce in NC
North Carolina marriage laws require a one-year separation which is intended to be permanent before you can file for divorce. In addition, you or your spouse must be a legal North Carolina resident for at least six months before filing. If these criteria have been satisfied, you can file a lawsuit in District Court asking for an absolute divorce in NC. In general, it can take 45-90 days after filing to get an uncontested divorce.
Because North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, a one-year separation is the only requirement for obtaining a divorce. During this time, the parties will typically attempt to resolve issues involving financial support, children, and equitable distribution. These issues can be addressed through a separation agreement, a written agreement that serves as a private contract between spouses. Any claims relating to property division and alimony are lost if they are not resolved by separation agreement or court order before entry of the divorce judgment, or if there is not a lawsuit pending to resolve those claims filed at the time the divorce is granted. For this reason, many couples will wait until the completion of a separation agreement to file for divorce or will file a lawsuit to resolve other financial or children’s issues at the same time as filing for divorce.
An experienced attorney can help you assess your options.
You should always consult with an attorney before signing any document presented to you by your spouse or your spouse’s attorney.
Annulment in NC
Annulment is a process that voids a marriage, meaning it legally declares that the marriage never existed. A legal annulment is not the same as a religious annulment, which can only be granted by a church and has no effect on your legal marital status.
There are very limited grounds to qualify for an annulment in North Carolina. A bigamous marriage, where one spouse was already legally married to another living person, is voided.
Other reasons that may be legal grounds to void a marriage include the spouses being family members closer in relation than first cousins, one spouse was physically impotent at the time of marriage, one spouse was mentally incompetent at the time of marriage, or one spouse was under the age of 16 at the time of marriage. Annulments are rare, in most cases partners must seek a divorce. A quick change of heart after even just days of the marriage is not grounds for annulling a marriage.
The family law attorneys at WFLG can address these and other specific situations that could be considered grounds for annulment.