What Does no Fault Divorce Mean?
Divorce is not easy. It signals the end of a marriage. Whether the marriage lasted one year or several years, it is a difficult process that affects the lives of both spouses. It changes living situations, custody and support of children, and the assets retained by each party. North Carolina is a state that has several divorce options. One question that is often asked is, “What does no fault divorce mean?”
Is North Carolina a No Fault Divorce State?
Although other divorce options are available, a no fault divorce is available in North Carolina. This means the party requesting the divorce does not have to prove that something was done wrong by the other party, thus necessitating the divorce. Neither party is deemed the cause of the divorce.
In North Carolina, a no fault divorce only has two requirements. One is that at least one of the spouses is a North Carolina resident or has been at least six months prior to the divorce proceedings. The second requirement is that you and your spouse have been separated for at least 12 months. You must have stayed in different residences and slept under different roofs. Fault can still be considered when the court is determining spousal support, child custody and support, and how assets are divided.
Common Misconceptions about No Fault Divorce
If you are seeking a no fault divorce in North Carolina, you need to know the facts. Many people mistakenly believe that the 12 month separation period is based on your word. That is not the case. The court will require some type of documentation proving that you and your spouse were, in fact, separated for 12 consecutive months. Many times, spouses will reconcile their marriage and reside together. Even if you were separated for 12 months prior to the reconciliation, the 12 month time period restarts if you later decide to permanently separate.
Some people believe that they can obtain a divorce even if the spouse does not want one. You must communicate to your spouse that you are separating because you don’t want to be a married couple any longer. When the divorce complaint is filed, your spouse is served a summons. If an answer is not given in 30 days, a divorce could be granted by default. If the spouse contests the divorce, the judge will make the determination.
Do You Need an Attorney for a No Fault Divorce?
It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney when going through any type of legal proceedings. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can answer questions and address concerns surrounding children or division of assets in a divorce. You need to be prepared with an attorney representing your interests, since a no fault divorce can become more complex once the division of assets or child custody arrangements are discussed. An attorney can also make sure that before you sign a separation agreement, it is fair and considers your rights.
If you have questions regarding a no fault divorce in North Carolina, consult with an attorney. At Emblem Legal, we can help you navigate the divorce process. Although divorce is not easy, we can help make the process less complicated for you. Contact us today for a consultation and learn your rights.