Divorce Attorneys In Raleigh & the Triangle

Wake County Divorce Lawyers

Experienced NC Divorce Attorneys Serving Raleigh & the Triangle

Divorce is often an emotionally difficult process. At Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law, our Wake County divorce lawyers are committed to helping clients navigate their way through the divorce process. In North Carolina, the most common manner to obtain a divorce is after at least 12 months in legal separation. 

Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-6, our North Carolina “no-fault” divorce statute states that an absolute divorce may be granted “if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for 1 year, and the plaintiff or defendant in the suit for divorce has resided in the state for 6 months.”

For answers to your specific divorce-related questions, call our experienced Raleigh divorce lawyers serving Wake County at (919) 838-7160 or schedule a consultation online


Legal Separation in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a spouse who seeks a divorce must prove they were in legal separation from their partner for a minimum of 1 year. 

They also must show:

  • They have lived in a separate dwelling from the other spouse for at least 1 year
  • The parties did not resume marital relations during that legal separation
  • At least 1 spouse had the intent to end the marriage when the legal separation first occurred
  • At least 1 spouse must have resided in North Carolina for at least 6 months before filing the divorce action

After the period of legal separation has run, the husband or wife may file a complaint for an absolute divorce. The defendant must be served with a copy of the divorce complaint and summons and has 30 days to respond. The divorce case will be calendared for a hearing and the court in Wake County, may enter a judgment according to Rule 56 (summary judgment) or at trial. 

If your family law attorney files a Rule 56 motion, the party who filed the complaint does not have to go to Wake County court for the divorce hearing. Otherwise, the plaintiff will testify to demonstrate to the Wake County court that all the requirements to obtain the absolute divorce have been met. The only proof required to show the one-year legal separation is the plaintiff’s testimony.

What Happens After You File for Divorce in North Carolina?

Filing the divorce complaint only changes the legal status of the parties and does not address other issues often involved in a divorce involving money and property, such as alimony and property division. An absolute divorce may be granted before a determination of these factors. 

However, the failure to file a claim for alimony and property division before the entry of an absolute divorce judgment will bar the right to assert those claims. This means a spouse who seeks an equitable distribution of property and alimony loses the right to assert these claims if an absolute divorce judgment is granted before filing such claims. Thus, for clients seeking alimony and property division, it is vitally important that these claims are filed before entry of the absolute divorce judgment.

When Does a Divorce Decree Expire?

In North Carolina, a divorce decree does not expire. Once a divorce is finalized, the decree remains valid and enforceable indefinitely. A divorce decree is a court order that officially terminates the marital relationship and outlines the terms of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division.

The final divorce decree is typically issued after all legal requirements have been met, and the court is satisfied with the terms of the divorce settlement. Once the divorce decree is entered by the court, it becomes a legally binding document that both parties must follow. However, it is essential to understand that certain provisions within the divorce decree may have expiration dates or conditions that trigger modifications. For example, child support or alimony orders may specify an end date or can be modified based on significant changes in circumstances, such as a change in income or employment status of either spouse.

If either party fails to comply with the terms of the divorce decree, the other party can seek enforcement through the court. This may involve filing a motion to enforce the court order and requesting penalties or modifications, depending on the circumstances. It's crucial for both parties to understand the obligations outlined in the divorce decree and to comply with its terms to avoid legal complications. If there are any concerns or questions about the divorce decree, consulting with a family law attorney can provide clarity and guidance on the best course of action. 

For your initial consultation, please call our firm at (919) 838-7160 or contact us online. Our experienced divorce lawyers serving Wake County are ready to help you fight for your rights and interests. 

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