Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse Lives in a Different State?

3-8Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse Lives in a Different State?

If you make the decision to end your marriage, there are a few procedural issues that you may need to resolve. One of the most important matters is to determine how to seek a divorce when your spouse lives out of state. It is important to note that you do not need to get a divorce in the state where you were married, but you can generally get a divorce in the state where you currently reside. If you live in North Carolina and your spouse lives in a different state, you can initiate the process as long as you meet the criteria. A North Carolina divorce attorney will help you through your divorce from start to finish.


What are the Requirements to Get a Divorce in North Carolina?

North Carolina allows “no-fault” divorce. Therefore, you need only ensure that the marriage is irretrievably broken. One of the most important requirements for divorce in North Carolina is that you and your spouse must live apart for a period of at least one full year. You cannot live under the same roof during this period. At least one party must separate with the intention of ending the marriage.  Another requirement for divorce is that the person filing for divorce must reside in North Carolina and must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How does custody work if one parent moves internationally?”


What if I Do Not Know Where My Spouse Lives?

Sometimes, a spouse leaves the home and loses contact with their spouse. In cases such as this, you can still seek a divorce. You must make proper attempts to serve your spouse with divorce papers. If you cannot find your spouse, you must fulfill the requirement by posting in the local newspaper that serves the area where they reside. You may need to take further steps to locate your spouse. Once you have fulfilled the legal requirements, you can proceed with the divorce, even if your spouse is absent from the proceedings.



Which Spouse Needs to File for Divorce?

Either spouse can file the paperwork to initiate a divorce. The person who files for divorce is called the petitioner and the other spouse is the respondent. It makes little difference in the dissolution of a marriage or in matters regarding settlement terms. Filing for divorce when one spouse lives in another state can make things slightly more complex and might result in a lengthier process. However, in North Carolina, assets and property are to be divided in an equitable manner. This means that regardless of who initiated the divorce, both parties are to receive a fair distribution of assets.


Divorce is not always easy, but it can be less stressful with help from an experienced and compassionate divorce attorney. Count on your lawyer to guide the process and assist you with all the various matters that arise, including how to file for divorce when your spouse lives out of state. To learn more about divorce, contact us at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to schedule a consultation.




The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.




Separation and Divorce | North Carolina Judicial Branch (

Separation and Divorce | North Carolina Judicial Branch (


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