Do you need a reason to file for divorce in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2024 | Family Law |

The grounds for divorce in other states might range from irreconcilable differences to specific fault-based reasons. However, North Carolina only mandates that couples live apart for an entire year before they can file for divorce, with at least one party intending the separation to be permanent. Therefore, while other states have some version of no-fault divorce, North Carolina is a “no-fault state.” You do not need a reason to divorce your spouse.

Spouses who intend on pursuing an absolute divorce need only to live separately and apart for a year unless they file for divorce based on the incurable insanity of one spouse. The one-year separation period is more than just a countdown. It is a time for introspection, planning and legal positioning that can significantly impact the course of your divorce proceedings.

Using the one-year separation rule to your advantage

The separation period serves as a legal and emotional buffer, offering spouses time to reflect on their marriage and, if divorce is inevitable, prepare for the legal challenges ahead. During this year, important decisions regarding finances, child custody and individual futures begin to take shape. Divorcing spouses can use this period to their advantage in several ways:

  • Financial planning: The separation period allows spouses time to assess their financial situations individually. You will have an entire year to create a budget that reflects your new single-income household, close joint accounts, separate debts and financially prepare for your divorce.
  • Child custody and visitation: If you have kids, you can use this year to test out preliminary custody and visitation arrangements. Establishing a routine that works for both parents and the children can provide a stable foundation for the final custody agreement.
  • Property and asset inventory: Spouses can use this time to identify and inventory all their marital assets and debts. Knowing exactly what constitutes the marital estate will be crucial during the equitable distribution phase of the divorce process.
  • Emotional adjustment: Divorce can be emotionally taxing. The separation period can serve as a valuable time for personal growth, healing and adjustment to a new way of life. It can also be a time to seek counseling or therapy to process the end of the marriage. You can learn to prioritize your self and emotional well-being.
  • Legal Preparation: The one-year interval is the perfect time to consult with an attorney to understand your rights and obligations. They can explain your legal options and answer any questions you might have concerning your divorce.

It is a suitable time to determine the most practical way to approach your divorce and find a comfortable living situation post-divorce. You have the opportunity to organize your thoughts and prepare for the upcoming divorce proceedings. Use it wisely.