What is an Absolute Divorce?

In North Carolina, an “absolute divorce” simply means you are divorced. An absolute divorce can be obtained by either party filing a complaint with the court. The only need in N.C. for obtaining a divorce is that the couple have lived apart for at least 12 months. You don’t need any kind of proof that you were living apart. You only need to have the date that you started living apart and at least one person in the marriage intended that the separation be permanent. During the twelve-month separation period, you cannot resume your marriage. Should a court find that you have resumed your marriage, the twelve-month clock will be reset and you will have to wait another year to get divorced.

There is no need that you file for divorce immediately. There are many reasons including social security and health insurance that might make it attractive for you to stay married even though you are living apart. At McIlveen Family Law, we can help you make an informed decision about the timing of your divorce.

North Carolina is a “No-Fault” divorce state. To get an absolute divorce, the plaintiff must allege and prove the following:

(1) the plaintiff or defendant have resided in North Carolina for six months preceding the filing of the complaint for absolute divorce;
(2) the parties are married;
(3) the parties have been living separate and apart for one year preceding the filing of the complaint for absolute divorce; and
(4) the parties do not intend to resume marital relations.

While you can file for divorce yourself, it is often wise to consult with an attorney so that you don’t waive any of your rights. Contact the McIlveen Family Law Firm to schedule a consultation.


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