The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of North Carolina divorce.
for more specific information regarding North Carolina divorce laws.
Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.
|Residency Requirements ||6 months|
|Where to File ||In all proceedings for divorce, the summons shall be returnable to the court of the county in which either the plaintiff or defendant resides.
|Grounds for Divorce ||The court may grant divorces from bed and board on application of the party injured, made as by law provided, in the following cases if either party:
- Abandons his or her family
- Maliciously turns the other out of doors
- By cruel or barbarous treatment endangers the life of the other. In addition, the court may grant the victim of such treatment the remedies available under G.S. 50B-1, et seq.
- Offers such indignities to the person of the other as to render his or her condition intolerable and life burdensome.
- Becomes an excessive user of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and the life of that spouse burdensome
- Commits adultery
|Voluntary or required mediation ||Yes|
|Voluntary or recommended Counseling||Yes|
|Property Distribution ||There shall be an equal division by using net value of marital property and net value of divisible property unless the court determines that an equal division is not equitable. If the court determines that an equal division is not equitable, the court shall divide the marital property and divisible property equitably. The court shall consider all of the following factors under this subsection:
- The income, property, and liabilities of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective
- Any obligation for support arising out of a prior marriage
- The duration of the marriage and the age and physical and mental health of both parties
- The need of a parent with custody of a child or children of the marriage to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects
- The expectation of pension, retirement, or other deferred compensation rights that are not marital property
- Any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services, or lack thereof, as a spouse, parent, wage earner or homemaker
- Any direct or indirect contribution made by one spouse to help educate or develop the career potential of the other spouse
- Any direct contribution to an increase in value of separate property which occurs during the course of the marriage
- The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property and divisible property
- The difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession, and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party
- The tax consequences to each party
- Acts of either party to maintain, preserve, develop, or expand; or to waste, neglect, devalue or convert the marital property or divisible property, or both, during the period after separation of the parties and before the time of distribution
|Child Custody ||An order for custody of a minor child entered pursuant to this section shall award the custody of such child to such person, agency, organization or institution as will best promote the interest and welfare of the child. In making the determination, the court shall consider all relevant factors including acts of domestic violence between the parties, the safety of the child, and the safety of either party from domestic violence by the other party and shall make findings accordingly. An order for custody must include findings of fact which support the determination of what is in the best interest of the child. Between the mother and father, whether natural or adoptive, no presumption shall apply as to who will better promote the interest and welfare of the child. Joint custody to the parents shall be considered upon the request of either parent.
|Child Support ||There are specific child support guidelines that will determine how much child support should be paid. Child support typically can't be waived by the parents, although a judge might decide this on a case-by-case basis, looking at all factors. |
Gross Income and Deductions.
The basic child support obligation is determined using a schedule, based on the parents' gross income. Gross income means a parent's actual income from any source, except benefits received from public assistance programs. Except as otherwise provided, income does not include the income of a person who isn't the child's parent, regardless of whether that person is married to or lives with the child's parent.
Child support payments actually made by a parent under any preexisting court order, separation agreement or voluntary support arrangement are deducted from the parent's gross income to determine the current child support obligation. Actual payments of alimony should not be considered as a deduction from gross income but may be considered as a factor to vary from the final presumptive child support obligation.
A parent's financial responsibility for his or her natural or adopted children who currently reside with the parent (other than children for whom child support is being determined in the pending action) is deducted from the parent's gross income. Use of this deduction is appropriate when a child support order is entered or modified, but may not be the sole basis for modifying an existing order.
|Spousal Support ||North Carolina laws allow the court to award alimony upon a finding that one spouse is a dependent spouse, that the other spouse is a supporting spouse, and that an award of alimony is equitable after considering all relevant factors. The duration of the award may be for a specified or for an indefinite term. In determining the amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:
Alimony on Grounds of Adultery.
- The marital misconduct of either of the spouses. Nothing herein shall prevent a court from considering incidents of post date-of-separation marital misconduct as corroborating evidence supporting other evidence that marital misconduct occurred during the marriage and prior to date of separation
- The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses
- The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses
- The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security, or others
- The duration of the marriage
- The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse
- The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child
- The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage
- The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs
- The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support
- The property brought to the marriage by either spouse
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker
- The relative needs of the spouses
- The federal, State, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award
- Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper
- The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties' marital or divisible property.
If the court finds that the dependent spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, the court shall not award alimony. If the court finds that the supporting spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, then the court shall order that alimony be paid to a dependent spouse. If the court finds that the dependent and the supporting spouse each participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, then alimony shall be denied or awarded in the discretion of the court after consideration of all of the circumstances. Any act of illicit sexual behavior by either party that has been condoned by the other party shall not be considered by the court.