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Do I have to go to court?
If you are able to come to a written Separation Agreement with your spouse in North Carolina about the issues of alimony, child support, child custody, and equitable distribution, you may never have to step foot in a courtroom in North Carolina for divorce and you may not even ever have to be in front of a judge. Depending on the county, it is possible that you may not even have to step into the courthouse. If your county does require that you be present to obtain a divorce, as long as you can show that you have been separated for one year, you will only be asked 5-10 questions by the judge before being granted your divorce.
What if my spouse will not agree to get a divorce?
In North Carolina, there are only 2 grounds for obtaining an "absolute divorce." The rule that applies in the vast majority of cases only requires that you have been living separate and apart from your spouse for 1 full year. There is no requirement that you show adultery, abuse, or neglect. Even if your spouse accuses you of adultery or mistreatment, that will not stop the absolute divorce from being granted, so long as you have lived apart for 1 year.
How do I get a "legal separation" in North Carolina?
There is no such thing as a "legal separation" in North Carolina. In North Carolina, the only thing that you need to start a separation is for you and your spouse to start living in separate residences. The day one of you moves out of the shared residence is the "Date of Separation" for North Carolina. You do not need any paperwork, agreement, or judge's signature to start the "Date of Separation", although you should consult with an attorney to insure you are not causing any other legal issues. North Carolina does not recognize a separation if you are merely living in separate rooms in the same house; you must be living in completely separate residences.
How long does an initial consultation last?
The initial consultation typically lasts between 1 and 1-1/2 hours. The initial consultation fee is a flat fee of $250 no matter how long the consultation lasts. Most attorneys will charge by the hour even at the initial consultation.
Who else can I bring with me for support during an initial consultation?
While we recognize that going through a divorce becomes easier with the support of friends and family, there are important legal issues that can arise by having third parties in the room during a consultation. Ketan will discuss the implications before any confidential information is exchanged.
I have heard that if I live with someone for long enough, I am considered married by common law? North Carolina does not recognize common law marriage. Therefore, you cannot enter into a common law marriage in this state. However, if you were considered married by the common law of another state, then North Carolina will recognize your common law status after you move here.