What to Know About No-Fault Divorce in North Carolina

2What to Know About No-Fault Divorce in North Carolina

When you and your partner tie the knot, you do not expect it to end in divorce. The last thing you think about is going through life without your partner. Unfortunately, sometimes marriages do not work out. If you have explored your options and tried to resolve your issues, you may still come to the conclusion that you wish to go your separate ways. The decision to divorce is not an easy one, but it is made easier with the ability to seek a no-fault divorce in North Carolina.


What is No-Fault Divorce?

In years gone by, people need to provide a reason to end their marriages. These reasons were called “grounds for divorce.” Typically, grounds for divorce placed blame on one spouse or the other for the demise of their marriage. Some grounds for divorce were adultery, desertion, and cruelty, among others. Over the years, states have removed those grounds for divorce in favor of an easier option that allows couples to obtain a no-fault divorce. Since 1965, a married couple may seek a no-fault divorce in North Carolina, also called absolute divorce.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What does a “No-Fault’ divorce mean in NC?”


Requirements for No-Fault Divorce

North Carolina has a couple of requirements for those who wish to file for no-fault divorce. A couple must be separated for a period of one year before they can seek a divorce. Separation means that the parties must live apart in separate residences. You cannot live under the same roof and consider it a separation. If you get back together and later decide to divorce, you must restart the separation period again. In addition, the other requirement to get a divorce is for at least one of the parties to have lived in North Carolina for at least six months before filing.


Fault Plays a Role in Supportthe-rings-1314158

While fault does not matter in the division of property or custody issues, it can play a role in the determination of support or alimony. The judge may consider misconduct that occurred during the marriage when deciding post-separation support and spousal support. Marital misconduct includes a variety of actions such as illicit sexual behavior, sex with someone other than your partner, abandonment, cruel treatment, reckless spending, excessive use of drugs or alcohol, and more. A spouse would need to provide the court with proof of the accusations.


Divorce from Bed and Board

It is important to know that North Carolina has another option called “divorce from bed and board.” This is the equivalent of a legal separation in other states. The law allows you to seek divorce from bed and board based on fault. There are a number of grounds for divorce from bed and board that only apply to that course of action. Divorce from bed and board does not end the marriage, and you would not be able to remarry until you get an absolute divorce.


If you are ready to begin the divorce process, you will want to discuss the matter with an experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (704) 370-2828 for 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.



no-fault divorce | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)

Separation and Divorce | North Carolina Judicial Branch (nccourts.gov)


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