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What if my spouse does not want to get a divorce?

You can obtain a North Carolina divorce whether or not your spouse wants to be divorced, provided that two conditions are met: you have been separated for one continuous year and the paperwork has been correctly processed.

It is not sufficient to merely declare that you and your spouse are separating. Separation means that each partner resides in a different household. Following the one-year separation, you are free to file for divorce immediately.

During your separation, however, it’s important to sort out how property, debts, custody and alimony are to be allocated not only when you're living apart, but also when a divorce is officially granted. The terms you and your spouse agree to on these legal issues are entered into a legally binding separation agreement. Separation agreement terms are completely up to the two parties — a judge does not have to approve them. Once notarized, an agreement is valid.

Failure to negotiate a separation agreement means you are leaving decisions of child custody, alimony and property distribution up to the judge. Negotiating these matters beforehand has the added benefits of saving you money, time and aggravation.


This information applies to All Counties in North Carolina.


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