How to Get a Divorce in North Carolina When One of the Spouses is in the Military


If you are trying to obtain a divorce in North Carolina and you are a member of the military, it is understandable to be concerned about the residency requirements for divorce. Residency requires that at least one spouse had been physically present in NC for at least 6 months and has the intent to remain. However, when it comes to military personnel, this requirement may cause some difficulty. Fortunately, North Carolina recognizes that many military personnel stationed in the state do not have the intent to remain in NC and carves out an exception.

Because domicile can be difficult to establish, persons who have resided on a military base within the state for 6 months are deemed residents of the state in which base is located, regardless of whether they have the intent to remain. Additionally, there are special rules for child custody and visitation.

The objective of these statutes is not to put the military in a compromising position through children. The best interests of the child standard still controls but courts make it easier for military personnel to appear in court for a hearing.

When there is scheduled child custody or child support hearing, the spouse or parent who is in the military can appear by electronic communication on advance notice. Additionally, the court will allow expedited hearings on motion by parent who has been notified of temporary duty, deployment, or mobilization. 

In some situations, a military order requires moving a substantially distance or materially affects the military parent’s ability to exercise custody or visitation. A court can award a temporary custody order, which ends no more than ten days after the parent returns, absent immediate danger or irreparable harm to the child. Also, the court can delegate visitation rights to a family member when the military spouse/parent is away on duty and cannot visit their child. If you are facing divorce from a spouse who is in the military or you are in the military and seeking a divorce and/or involved in child custody proceedings, please contact Emblem Legal.