Wondering about Marriage, Separation and Divorce in North Carolina? This list of quick points will explain the basic framework of family law in the state.  Contact us today if you need to discuss your situation with a family law attorney

  1. There must be a valid marriage.
    1. In North Carolina you must be 18 years of age to get married. Minors 16-18 years of age may get married with their parents’ or guardian’s consent. Minors 14-16 years of age may get married if the female is pregnant or gives birth and there is a District Court order authorizing the marriage.
    2. There is no common law marriage in North Carolina.
    3. You must obtain a marriage license.
    4. There must be a ceremony performed by an ordained minister, a magistrate, or other authorized people.
  2. Separation in North Carolina occurs once a husband and wife begin living ‘separate and apart’ and at least one has the intent to remain separate and apart.
    1. There is no requirement to legally file for separation.
    2. You cannot remain living in the same house.
    3. There are avenues to receive post-separation supports and an interim distribution of property before the divorce or final property division is concluded.
  3. Requirements for Divorce:
    1. There are two grounds for divorce; separation for one year, and incurable insanity of one spouse and separation for three years.
    2. There is no requirement of fault in North Carolina in order to obtain a divorce.
    3. You must have resided in North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing an action.
    4. After you have been separated for one year, you must file a Complaint (a lawsuit) requesting a divorce. A hearing will be held and then a Judge will issue a judgment declaring you divorced.
    5. As part of the Divorce hearing, you may request to resume your maiden name.
  4. Effects of Divorce:
    1. An entry of divorce will bar you from claiming alimony or requesting property division if you did not previously request either in a complaint or agreed upon them in a binding Separation Agreement. You should consult an attorney to determine specific ramifications of property division and alimony claims.
    2. After you are divorced, your tax status will change.
    3. The ownership interest in your house could be altered.
    4. Finally, a divorce will bar you from inheriting from your spouse unless specifically named in a will.

For more specific information, questions or advice, please consult one of our attorneys.

As always, we remain focused on your rights.