Grounds (reasons) for divorce in North Carolina
Absolute divorce based on incurable insanity requires that the parties live separate and apart for three years because of the incurable insanity of one of them. The party petitioning for a divorce must put forth extensive evidence proving that the other spouse is incurably insane, including expert testimony from physicians or an adjudication of insanity.
One Year of Separation
Absolute divorce based on separation of one year is the more common ground used. North Carolina General Statute § 50-6 requires that the parties live separately and apart for one year and that at least one of the parties reside in North Carolina for the prior six months. There must be both a physical separation and an intention on the part of at least one of the parties to cease the matrimonial cohabitation. The parties must be living in separate residences; separate rooms or areas of the same house will not suffice.
In order to get divorced under the one-year separation ground, you must have lived “separate and apart” for one year and at least one spouse must have had the intention to remain separate and apart. You do not need to file for “legal separation” in order to begin the one-year period.
What is absolute divorce?
Absolute divorce is the dissolution of the marital bonds existing between two people. After entry of a judgment of absolute divorce, all rights arising out of the marriage (for example, intestate inheritance or rights to marital property) terminate and the parties are free to remarry someone else.
A court will not address marital property, spousal support, custody, and child support during a claim for only absolute divorce. It is important to make sure that claims related to marital property and spousal support have been raised or resolved prior to entry of divorce, or these claims will be lost permanently.
Contact our firm today if you are considering divorce or need assistance with filing for divorce in North Carolina.