When you got married, there were certain requirements you had to meet for the marriage to be legally valid. The same is true if you are seeking a divorce.
To get an absolute divorce in North Carolina, your situation must meet the residency requirement and the separation requirement. If you think ending your marriage may be for the best, an understanding of these requirements can help you pursue divorce in a way that makes the most sense for your situation.
To meet the residency requirement, you or your spouse must have lived in North Carolina for at least six months before you file for divorce. Additionally, you or your spouse must currently live in the state.
Before you can file for absolute divorce, you and your spouse must have been separated for at least a year and a day. During this separation, you and your spouse must have lived in different homes. One or both of you must also have had the intention of being permanently separated during that time.
A separation will not be legally recognized if you and your spouse live in the same home, even if you have ended your relationship. It will also not be legally valid if you live in separate home with any intention other than being permanently separated. For example, if you live in separate homes because one spouse works far away and needs someplace to live while working, the separation requirement will not be met.
Although you and your spouse can have a separation agreement, it is not required to prove your separation is valid. However, a separation agreement details how you and your spouse plan to resolve issues related to the separation, which can help speed up the divorce process.
Rare cases have different requirements
Most North Carolina divorces occur on no-fault grounds. However, in some rare instances, divorce can occur on the grounds of incurable insanity. In this situation, you and your spouse must have lived apart for at least three years because of your spouse’s mental health. This can be proven if your spouse was institutionalized for the past three years or if a judge declared your spouse insane at least three years ago. Two specialty doctors must also testify that your spouse is incurably insane.
If you think ending your marriage is an appropriate decision, you should first consider if you meet the residency and separation requirements needed to file for divorce. If you do not currently meet those requirements, you may consider what actions might be taken to do so.