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What are the grounds for divorce in North Carolina?

You can get married for any reason or no reason at all, and you could go from single to married in a matter of days. Ending a marriage isn’t nearly as easy as starting one. In North Carolina, you can only divorce when you have valid grounds for wanting to end your marriage.

Many people, nervous about what that means, may stay married. Even someone who has been considering divorce for a while may avoid taking any concrete steps because they assume they will need to jump through a lot of legal hoops or fight their spouse to get a divorce.

Thankfully, the law in North Carolina offers you two relatively straightforward grounds for filing for divorce. 

North Carolina is primarily a no-fault divorce state

When you file for cause or on specific legal grounds, usually it means that one spouse is directly responsible for the end of the marriage. However, fault-based divorce filing opens the door to one spouse defending against the other’s request for the dissolution of their marriage.

Divorce for a reason can take a lot longer and cost more because of what you need to prove to the courts. In a no-fault divorce, you simply claim that your marriage has broken down and is not salvageable. In North Carolina, most people will file for a no-fault divorce, and they will need to separate from their spouse first.

State law requires that you and your spouse live separately for a year for a no-fault, separation-based divorce. However, there is one other reason you can legally divorce, and that has to do with mental insanity. You will also need evidence of a protracted separation to qualify for divorce on grounds of insanity affecting one spouse.

Reaching an agreement can benefit you both

Although your spouse doesn’t have to agree for you to file for divorce, they can fight you on all of the practical aspects, leading to a more expensive and frustrating divorce. If you and your ex can reach a settlement regarding how you divide property or how you split parental responsibilities, your uncontested divorce filing to be a faster and less stressful end to your marriage than a litigated divorce would be.

Learning the basics of divorce in North Carolina can help you prepare to move on from an unfulfilling relationship. Please contact our Mooresville family lawyers for more legal help.

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