An action for divorce in North Carolina is called an Absolute Divorce and requires that spouses have lived separate and apart for more than one year. In order for North Carolina to have jurisdiction over the divorce action, one spouse must have lived in the State of North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing. Although an action for Absolute Divorce will terminate the marriage between the parties, other claims may be necessary in order to address issues that accompany the divorce. Some of the claims that frequently arise as a result of separation and divorce are Equitable Distribution, Alimony, Child Custody, and Child Support.
Equitable Distribution is the distribution of the parties’ assets and debts. When determining what property should be distributed, the Court must classify each piece of property as Separate Property, Marital Property, or Divisible Property. Separate Property will not be distributed because it belongs solely to one spouse and the other spouse does not have an interest in the property. Marital and Divisible Property must be distributed by the Court. To read more about the different classifications of property, visit our Equitable Distribution page.
Alimony is spousal support paid by the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse. In order to receive alimony, the Court must find that one spouse is a supporting spouse, the other spouse is the dependent spouse, that the dependent spouse is actually and substantially dependent on the supporting spouse, and that the supporting spouse has the ability to pay. There is no formula for the determination of an alimony amount in North Carolina. Judges will consider all information submitted by the parties on their Financial Affidavits in order to determine each parties’ income and reasonable monthly expenses. To read more about Alimony in North Carolina visit our Alimony page.
Child Custody often accompanies a divorce action when parties cannot come to an agreement regarding a schedule for their children. Anytime an action for custody is filed, the parties are required to attend mediation, which is conducted through the courthouse. There are limited grounds for a waiver of mediation, but in the great majority of cases, the parties will be required to attend. The standard for a custody determination in North Carolina is the “best interest of the child(ren).” The judge will consider all relevant information when determining an appropriate custody schedule for the child(ren). To read more about Child Custody in North Carolina, visit our Child Custody page.
Child Support in North Carolina is determined based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines take into account the parties’ gross incomes, payment of health insurance, work-related childcare, and extraordinary expenses on behalf of the children, the number of overnights each parent spends with the children, and each parent’s obligation to care for the other biological children. In order to read more about Child Support in North Carolina, visit our Child Support page.
You can read more about the divorce process in North Carolina on our Absolute Divorce page.