What does it mean when your divorce is contested?
In the state of North Carolina, you can file for divorce if you have been living in the state for 6 months and have been separated for one year. As a “no-fault” state, North Carolina does not require that a spouse show evidence of marital misconduct, such as adultery or abuse, and even if one spouse does not want to end the marriage, a divorce can be granted on these terms.
In cases where there is a lack of unanimous agreement, or if the spouses are unable to agree to the terms of divorce, it can lead to a contested divorce.
A contested divorce is often characterized by fighting over the terms of the divorce, namely, the division of assets, spousal support, and custody and visitation for any dependent children.
In the case of a contested divorce, your divorce attorney will work with you to ensure you have met the requirements of a divorce and help you to consider and review any compromises you are willing to make.
Once you have come to a decision, your attorney will file a divorce complaint with the family law court, which is essentially your counteroffer to the contested divorce. A copy of this complaint and any supporting documents will also be served to your spouse, who has 30 days to answer the complaint. Should your spouse fail to answer within 30 days, you can request for the court to grant a default divorce.
Oftentimes, the divorce can be settled outside of court in mediation, with both parties coming to an agreement for the terms. The best pre-emptive measure for a contested divorce is to be aware of all of the possible challenges you can face when filing for divorce. Our team at the Law Office of Janice V. Coulter is here to help.