North Carolina Divorce Law
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Divorce Residency Essentials to Get Divorce in North Carolina
Either spouse must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Divorce may be filed for in the county of residence of either spouse. [General Statutes of North Carolina; Chapter 50, Section 50-8].
Reasons for Divorce in North Carolina
There are mainly two reasons of divorce in North Carolina those are fault and general.In order to file for divorce in North Carolina, the proper grounds must be established. Both spouses are involved in establishing these grounds, and both must substantiate and agree upon these, unless the divorcing spouse is trying to prove otherwise to the court.
No-fault reasons fordivorce in North Carolinainclude:
- Living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year. [General Statutes of North Carolina; Chapter 50, Section 50-6].
General reasons fordivorce in North Carolinainclude:
- Confinement for incurable insanity for three years or
- Incurable mental illness based on examinations for three years. [General Statutes of North Carolina; Chapter 50, Sections 50-5.1].
Custody of the Children in North Carolina
Joint or sole child custody is determined according to the interests and welfare of the child. There is no presumption that either parent is better suited to have custody. No other factors for consideration are specified in the statute. [General Statutes of North Carolina; Chapter 50, Section 50-13.2].
Property Distribution in North Carolina
North Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state. Separate property, including:
- Any property acquired before the marriage;
- Any gifts and inheritances acquired during the marriage;
- Any property acquired in exchange for separate property; and
- Any increase in the value of separate property, will be retained by the spouse who owns it.
Marital property (property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage and before the separation, including any pension or retirement fund benefits) will be divided equally unless the court finds that an equal division is not fair. The division is based on the following factors:
- Any direct or indirect contributions to the career or education of the other spouse;
- Any depletion or waste of property;
- The net value of the property;
- The liquid or non-liquid character of the property;
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker;
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective;
- Any increase or decrease in the value of the separate property of the spouse during the marriage or the depletion of the separate property for marital purposes;
- The length of the marriage;
- The age and health of the spouses;
- The federal income tax consequences of the court’s division of the property;
- Liabilities of the spouses;
- Any retirement benefits, including social security, civil service, military and railroad retirement benefits;
- Any prior alimony or child support obligations of each spouse;
- The desirability of the spouse with custody of any children occupying the marital residence; and
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the spouses. [General Statutes of North Carolina; Chapter 50, Section 50-20].
North Carolina Spousal Support Guidelines
Either spouse may be awarded alimony. The factors for consideration are:
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market and their incomes;
- The mental, physical, and emotional conditions of the spouses;
- The marital misconduct of the spouses;
- The ages of the spouses;
- The contribution of one spouse to the education, training, or earning power of the other spouse;
- The effect of a spouse having primary custody of a child;
- The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary for a spouse to acquire sufficient education or training to become self-sufficient;
- The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker;
- The tax consequences; and
- Any other factor the court deems just and equitable.
The court may require bond for security for the alimony payments. Alimony may not be paid to the spouse committing adultery. [General Statutes of North Carolina; Chapter 50, Sections 50-16.3a and 50-16.6].
North Carolina Child Support Guidelines
Both parents are primarily responsible for the support of a minor child and either parent may be ordered to pay child support. The factors to be considered are:
- The needs of the child;
- The relative ability of the parents to provide support;
- The childcare and homemaker contributions of each parent;
- The assets of the child; and
- Any other relevant factors.
A grandparent may be liable for child support if the parent is an unemancipated minor. There are official child support guidelines which are presumed to be correct, unless there is a showing that the amount of support would be unjust or inappropriate. Child support worksheets are also provided. Child support payments may be required to be paid through the clerk of the court. Income withholding may be used if child support payments become delinquent. Child support obligations may be required to be secured by a bond or mortgage. The court may require a parent to provide health insurance coverage for a child. [General Statutes of North Carolina; Chapter 50, Section 50-13.4. Child Support Guidelines and Worksheets are contained in the Annotated Rules of North Carolina].
If child custody is a contested issue, the court may order the parents to submit to mandatory mediation of that issue. [General Statutes of North Carolina; Chapter 50, Section 50-13.1].