Absolute Divorce

When two people are joined in marriage, the laws of the State must be satisfied to validate that marriage. Similarly, for a married couple to legally dissolve their marriage, again, they must abide by the laws of the State.

In order to obtain a divorce, a Husband and Wife must remain separate and apart for 365 days with the intention of remaining apart without resuming their marital relationship. After that time has passed either the Husband or the Wife may file for divorce. Isolated instances of sexual relations between spouses during the separation period do not void the separation period. However, at least one spouse must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least six (6) months prior to filing the divorce in order to file the action in Court.

A divorce proceeding begins when one spouse files a formal document, called a Complaint, with the court. The Complaint must then be served on the other spouse; this usually is done by either certified mail or through the sheriff or police department. Although one can obtain a divorce representing him or herself, it is advisable that each spouse consult a lawyer in order to preserve their respective legal rights. If you have not resolved the division of your marital property, the granting of a divorce waives your right to do so. It is best to wait until you have settled all outstanding issues in your marriage, not just including property division, but child custody, child support, alimony and attorney's fees prior to seeking an absolute divorce. Once a divorce Complaint is filed, it can take as little as two (2) months to obtain a divorce if the parties agree to the terms of the divorce. However, if there is no agreement between the parties, then obtaining a divorce can take much longer.

A divorce is granted once a judge signs an order stating that the laws of the state regarding divorce have been satisfied. The divorce occurs at the moment the judge signs the order.

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Gabriela J. Matthews
& Associates, P.A.
100 E. Parrish St., Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701

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Office Hours:  Monday - Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Phone: (919) 956-7888 
Fax: (855) 422-6288

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