Types of Divorce: What North Carolina Residents Should Know

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What does uncontested divorce mean?”


Although marriage can be a lifelong bond for some people, for others the bond eventually must be broken. In these situations, contacting a divorce attorney becomes necessary. Read on for what spouses in North Carolina should know about the different types of divorce options available in their state.


cutting-the-cake-Charlotte-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Alimony-attorney-245x300No-Fault Divorce


A no-fault divorce is one of the most common forms of divorce. In a no-fault divorce, a spouse simply asks the court to end the marriage. There is no blame attributed to the other spouse. All fifty states provide recourse for spouses to file a no-fault divorce. In fact, some states only allow for this style of divorce.


In many instances, the no-fault divorce process is a less expensive process because neither spouse is attempting to attribute blame or pointing fingers at the other. This often reduces the amount of time that divorce attorneys need to spend with their clients in arbitration and mediation.


In general, the grounds for filing a no-fault divorce are centered around irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, or some form of irretrievable breakdown. Historically, only spouses who could show the court that their spouse committed some type of fault could file for divorce.  Today, however, the courts in any state will not require spouses to stay married against their will.


As long as spouses meet the state’s requirements for filing for divorce, they will be able to do so.  In North Carolina, these requirements include living “separate and apart” for one year, meaning physically separated and not living together for one full uninterrupted year. It must also be clearly communicated that the reason for the separation is because one spouse no longer wants to be married. Additionally, at least one spouse must live in North Carolina for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce.


Divorce From Bed and Board


While some states allow for one spouse to file outright for a divorce due to some fault committed by the other spouse (i.e. a fault-based divorce), North Carolina state law puts for a different set of regulations. Known as “Divorce from Bed and Board” (DBB), this type of separation is not actually a divorce at all. Instead, a DBB is a form of court-ordered separation.


A DBB is only available to spouses under special circumstances where the fault of one spouse can be proven.  Examples may include events where one spouse has abandoned the family, commits cruel treatment that endangers the other’s life, commits abuse against their spouse, commits adultery, or becomes an excessive abuser of alcohol or drugs to the point that it becomes an undue burden on the other spouse.


When to Contact an Attorney


No matter if the grounds for divorce are no-fault or contentious, utilizing the services of an experienced divorce attorney is typically recommended. These legal professionals help ensure spouses understand the nuances of North Carolina divorce law while also preparing them for any court proceedings that may be necessary.


For years, the attorneys at Arnold and Smith PLLC have been helping spouses in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina as they navigate the legal underpinnings that support the divorce process in the state. Contact Arnold and Smith PLLC today for legal insight and support. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







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.






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