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How long does it take to finalize divorce?

North Carolina currently requires married couples to separate for one year before they can officially file for divorce. This law is controversial, and a few lawmakers have tried to get rid of it. One recent attempted law that failed to go in front of a committee tried to reduce this one-year requirement in cases where one spouse has a felony conviction, with the victim being the other spouse. 

As a result, divorce takes much longer in North Carolina when compared to other states. After this one year, one spouse can serve the other with divorce paperwork. From there, the proceedings can go by fairly quickly, as long as both spouses are on the same page. 

North Carolina requirements

State law requires spouses to live in separate residences for one year before continuing with divorce. This means both spouses live under a separate roof. It is not enough for one spouse to sleep in a different room. 

Decree of divorce

After successfully separating for one year, the spouse can serve the necessary paperwork. Once the spouse receives the paperwork, he or she has a litany of options. The spouse can admit to the wrongdoings that set the divorce in motion or not do anything at all. The spouse has 30 days to do something. In the event the divorce is an amicable agreement for both parties, the process should go by fairly quickly. However, if the other spouse wants to deny the allegations or remain married, then the process can become delayed significantly. 

The typical length for divorce

Each case is different. For lucky couples, the divorce can become finalized in as little as 90 days from the one-year separation date. Many complications can arise that delay the process. Ultimately, spouses who want to divorce need to be ready, seeing as the process could take a while. 

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110 Oakwood Drive, Suite 410
Winston Salem, NC 27103

Phone: 336-701-6521
Fax: 336-529-6325
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