Divorce Procedure

How and where is a divorce complaint filed?

The complaint is filed with the Clerk of Court once the form is completed and the required fee is paid. The complaint merely states what you are asking and why (i.e. an Absolute Divorce, the fact that the parties have been separated one year, and one of the parties has lived in North Carolina for at least six months). In the complaint you must also state whether or not there are children born to the marriage. If there are, you need to list their names in the complaint. Along with the complaint is the summons, which has the other party’s Read more

What forms do I need to file for a divorce in North Carolina?

In order to file for divorce, you need a completed summons and a completed and verified complaint. In addition there is a fee that needs to be paid to the Clerk of Court. Please keep in mind there are additional forms that are required after the divorce has been filed (i.e. a Judgment of Divorce).

After I file for divorce, do I have to continue to live in North Carolina?

It depends. If both parties live in North Carolina and the other party stays in North Carolina, then you can leave the state and still have North Carolina retain jurisdiction over the divorce. If both parties reside in North Carolina, but different counties and you (as the plaintiff) leave the state, your spouse could petition the court to remove the case to the county where he/she resides.

How long do I have to live in North Carolina to obtain a divorce?

In North Carolina, one party has to reside in North Carolina for six months prior to the filing of the complaint. Therefore, as long as your spouse lives in North Carolina for six months and intends to remain in North Carolina, you do not have to live in North Carolina to obtain a divorce.

Do I have to go to court?

It depends. In some counties in North Carolina, there is the opportunity to get divorced without going to court. In Mecklenburg County, for example, as long as all the procedures have been met (i.e. six-month residency, one-year separation, service of the opposing party, and no issues of material fact), you do not have to show up for court. In other counties, the court takes the testimony of at least one of the parties to determine whether an Absolute Divorce is appropriate.

When can I file for divorce in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, in order to file for an Absolute Divorce you must wait until you and your spouse have been separated for one year and one party must have resided in state for six months prior to the filing of the action.