Q: What is an absolute divorce?
A: An absolute divorce is the legal term to describe the termination of a marriage by a judge.
Q: What are the grounds for obtaining a divorce?
A: In order to be granted a divorce, you must be physically separated from your spouse for one year with the intent for the separation to be permanent and without having resumed the marital relationship.
Q: What is the procedure for obtaining a divorce?
A: While obtaining divorce may not be overly complex, there are certain procedures that need to be followed: 1. One party must file a written Complaint alleging all of the grounds for a divorce with the District Court in the county in which one of the parties lives. 2. One of the parties must be a resident of North Carolina for at least six (6) months prior to filing the divorce action. 3. You must serve the other party with a copy of the written Complaint and Summons. You may do so by having the Sheriff deliver it, sending it certified mail, return receipt requested, or by having your spouse sign and Acceptance of Service Affidavit. 4. If your spouse does not file an Answer contesting the divorce within thirty (30) days of being served, you or your attorney may go ahead and put the matter on a calendar for a judge to grant your divorce. 5. If all of the paperwork is in order, the judge will sign a Divorce Judgment granting your divorce.
Q: Do you have to be present at the divorce hearing?
A: In most cases, the parties are not present at the divorce hearing. The hearing can often be conducted based on the paperwork provided to the Court prior to the hearing.
Q: Do you have to be legally separated before obtaining a divorce?
A: No. A divorce is simply a document terminating the marriage. Although there is no requirement that you be legally separated before obtaining a divorce, there may be other good reasons for entering a legally-binding separation agreement at the time that you separate, particularly when custody, alimony or equitable distribution issues are still undecided. You should seek advice from a lawyer before obtaining a divorce on your own.