Divorce is a decision that will completely change your life, so it is normal to have concerns and questions before going through with it. One of the most fundamental concerns is whether you can pursue a divorce. North Carolina requires you to live in the state for at least six months before you are eligible to file for divorce in the state.
Aside from the minimum state residency requirements, you can only get an absolute divorce in North Carolina if you and your spouse have lived separately for at least a year. The 12 months you lived separate and apart should be consecutive, meaning the minimum separation period will reset once you move back in together, even if it was temporary. It is also important to note that at least one spouse must have had the intention to make the separation permanent during the time you lived apart.
Do you need a reason to file for divorce in North Carolina?
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. Therefore, you do not need to establish fault, and you do not need a reason for a divorce. Interestingly, North Carolina only has two grounds for divorce. They are:
- A one-year separation period
- Incurable sanity of one spouse
If you choose the ground of incurable sanity, you will have to live in different homes consecutively and for a longer time (three years). You would also need to have proof of your spouse’s incurable insanity.
Proving the one-year separation
You do not need your spouse’s permission to file for divorce in North Carolina. The courts will grant a divorce if you can prove that you and your spouse lived in separate residences for an uninterrupted year and that you intended to remain away from your spouse permanently. You can prove the separation by providing bills and other documents to verify that you have been living in your own household.
Living away from your spouse might feel intimidating, but it is the only way you will be eligible to file for an absolute divorce in North Carolina. You may want to consider a divorce from bed and board while waiting for your divorce to finalize.