If you and your spouse decide to divorce, you can choose a contested or uncontested process. However, before you can file in North Carolina, you must live apart from each other for at least one year with the intent of making your separation permanent.
In both divorce processes, the spouse who is requesting the divorce must file a complaint for divorce with the county clerk. It should include information about why the spouses are divorcing, also known as the grounds for divorce. The other spouse must receive a copy of the divorce complaint, so they have an opportunity to respond.
They can either respond by agreeing with what is in the complaint or if they disagree with the terms in the complaint, they can file an answer with the court. The spouses are also required to exchange financial information with each other.
Contested vs. uncontested divorce
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree on all major issues involved in the divorce which includes property division and spousal support. If you share children, this includes child support and child custody. An uncontested divorce may be faster.
If there are any issues that need resolution, the spouses may decide to participate in mediation where a neutral third party helps them agree on any differences. Then, they can submit their agreement to the court for consideration.
With a contested divorce, you and your spouse are unable to agree. The court may have to intervene in this situation to decide the outcome for you. Contested divorces may be more time-consuming and emotionally difficult.
Once all issues are resolved, the court will issue a final divorce decree.