Just as marriage laws differ between states, separation and divorce laws do as well. In North Carolina, there are two common types of divorce: contested and uncontested divorce. Here are some things to know about the differences between these two types of divorce:
- Uncontested Divorce: Divorces are considered uncontested when both spouses can mutually agree on the terms of the divorce. This includes how assets and debts will be divided, as well as any relevant child custody and child support considerations. Be aware that you cannot request equitable distribution or alimony to be considered by the court after a divorce is finalized. Uncontested divorce is usually faster and costs less than contested divorce.
- Contested Divorce: If spouses are not able to come to an agreement about assets, debts, custody or other considerations during a divorce, it is considered a contested divorce. If further attempts at mediation and agreement do not succeed, the final decisions about the contested divorce usually fall to a judge. Be aware that you may have very little control over the outcome in a contested divorce – you will have to live with whatever the judge decides
Whether you are pursuing a contested or uncontested divorce in North Carolina, there are certain rules you need to know about. Spouses must live separately for at least twelve continuous months prior to filing for divorce. Additionally, at least one spouse must reside in North Carolina for at least six months before filing for divorce in North Carolina. No matter what the circumstances of your divorce, you can consider both contested and uncontested divorce because North Carolina is a no-fault state, meaning you don’t have to prove fault to file for divorce and both spouses do not have to agree to divorce either.