To a lot of people, the word “divorce” conjures up images of spiteful husbands and wives battling it out over any little thing they can think of for months or maybe even years. Stereotypically, divorces are seen as being drawn out and downright dreadful. However, going through a divorce does not always have to be unpleasant, especially if you are armed with the right knowledge.

Below are some frequently asked questions about getting a divorce in North Carolina.

Q: Can I file for divorce as soon as I leave my spouse?

A: No. In North Carolina, you will need to have lived in the state for at least six months before you can file for a divorce. You will also need to live separately from your spouse for a full year before the divorce can be finalized.

Q: My spouse and I acquired assets and debts during our marriage, now what?

A: North Carolina is an equitable distribution state. This means that North Carolina follows the theory whereby marital property is distributed equitably in a divorce proceeding. Property assets are classified as either separate property or marital property. After identification and classification of property, marital property will be distributed amongst the parties by the court. Sometimes a court may order an unequal division of property based on several factors in N.C.G.S 50-20(c).

Q: My spouse makes more money than me. How can I afford my lifestyle without them?

A: In North Carolina, a spouse may be entitled to alimony. Alimony is payment for the support and maintenance of a spouse, either by lump sum or on a continuing basis. Alimony is paid by the “supporting spouse” and received by the “dependent spouse.” Alimony can be determined by the courts or settled in the form of a separation agreement. There are several factors that also determine an alimony award. For example, marital misconduct by either spouse plays a big role in an award of alimony. One example of marital misconduct is having an extramarital affair. Other factors considered include the relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses, the duration of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, and more.  

If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, contact one of our experienced family law attorneys today.