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Divorce FAQ

Answers to your Divorce Questions

What are the general differences in cost between contested and uncontested divorces?
Uncontested divorces are generally less costly and billed at a flat-fee. In contrast, contested divorces are billed at the attorney’s hourly rate.

What is an annulment?
In North Carolina, and annulment is only appropriate under very limited circumstances such as incest, impotence at the time of marriage, marriage entered into under false pretenses, marriage if the spouse was under the age of 16, bigamy, and if a spouse lacked sufficient capacity at the time the marriage was entered into.

Does adultery affect a divorce case?
North Carolina is a “No-Fault” divorce state. However, adultery an from either party will likely affect whether post separation support and alimony are awarded.
Can the court make a decision on where a primary parent lives in a custody case?
The short answer is Yes. The Court has wide discretion in custody cases and may allow or prevent a primary custodian from relocating.

How long does an uncontested divorce generally take?
The timeline for uncontested divorces can vary due to many circumstances; however, most are resolved in about 2 months.

What is the general process for filing for divorce?
Generally, filing for a divorce follows the same procedural steps as any other civil lawsuit. A complaint is filed and served, after which the defendant has 30 days to file an answer.

Do parents have custody rights to their children when they are unmarried?
Parents have a constitutionally protected natural inchoate right to the custody, care, and control of their children.

What generally happens when either I or my estranged spouse refuses to sign divorce documents?
In North Carolina, an absolute divorce can occur even if the other spouse objects so long as the basic statutory elements are satisfied. If the parties cannot agree to issues like child custody, alimony, or equitable distribution then the parties may engage in further negotiations or mediation. Ultimately, the parties may need to take their cases to trial.

What generally happens at a default divorce hearing?
The party requesting the divorce makes a motion for summary judgement and a motion for entry of default judgement. As long as the procedural requirements are followed and the pleadings are correct, the motion is granted and the parties are divorced.

What are the general guidelines of alimony?
North Carolina has no official guidelines for the award of alimony. Therefore, the Court has wide discretion as to what amount, and what duration alimony is awarded.
How are assets divided in a divorce with no prenuptial agreement?
Generally, the parties may agree to slit the assets however they choose. The legal presumption is that each party is to receive an equal share. The term equitable distribution means both parties will receive an equal share of the assets and the debts.

What do I need to start the divorce process?
Schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys at one of our office locations. We will guide you through the rest.

What is a legal separation?
It is a legal contract where the parties have agreed to terms in regards to custody, property division, child support, post separation support/alimony, in anticipation of divorce. North Carolina requires a 1 year separation period prior to divorce. Many times couples who have decided to divorce will agree to a separation agreement that ultimately becomes part of the divorce. These agreements are in essence the terms to be used in divorce.

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