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Divorce Laws in North Carolina

When parents in North Carolina cannot agree on child custody or visitation, the court may order the couple to attend mediation before proceeding with the divorce. The purpose of mediation in such a case is to:

  • Reduce acrimony
  • Develop an agreement that is in the best interest of the child
  • Educate parents about custody choices
  • Give parents the opportunity to make decisions regarding custody
  • Reduce stress to the child
  • Reduce the chances of further court battles over custody

Financial aspects of divorce cannot be referred to mediation by the court

Residency and jurisdiction in North Carolina
At least one spouse must live in North Carolina for at least six months before filing. Divorce may be filed in the county where either spouse lives.

Fault or no fault and ground for divorce in North Carolina
A couple may obtain a no fault divorce in North Carolina, if they have been separated for at least one year.

Acceptable grounds for fault divorce are as follows:

  • Abandonment
  • Maliciously kicking the other spouse out of the home
  • Cruel or barbarous treatment
  • Treatment so indignant as to render life together intolerable and burdensome
  • Habitual drug or alcohol abuse

Division of property in North Carolina
North Carolina is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50, but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. The court must consider the following factors when dividing property:

  • Length of marriage
  • Income, property and debts
  • Spousal support
  • Age and physical and mental health
  • Child custody with favor for allocating the family home to the parent with custody
  • Retirement benefits which are not marital property
  • Contributions to the acquisition of property, including homemaking and child care
  • Contributions to the career or education of the other spouse
  • Contributions to the increase in value of separate property
  • Tax consequences

Spousal support in North Carolina
In North Carolina, spousal support may be temporary or indefinite. The court must consider many factors when determining the amount, duration and method of payment for spousal support including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Standard of living during marriage
  • Marital misconduct
  • Earning capacity
  • Age and physical and emotional health
  • Sources of incomes
  • Contribution to the increased earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Parenting responsibilities
  • Employability and time needed to become self supporting
  • Assets and debts
  • Property brought to the marriage
  • Contribution as homemaker
  • Needs
  • Tax consequences
  • Economic circumstances
  • Property division

Child custody and support in North Carolina
When determining child custody, in North Carolina, the court must consider all factors relevant to the child’s best interest. The only element specifically described by North Carolina law is domestic violence. In cases involving domestic violence the court must consider:

  • Safety of the child
  • Safety of either parent from acts of violence from the other parent

North Carolina uses the Income Shares Model for determining child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in North Carolina, contact an experienced North Carolina divorce attorney today.

Click here to select from North Carolina divorce lawyers in your area.

Click on a link to find a Divorce Lawyer in that state.
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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in North Carolina and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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