You’ve decided to get a divorce, now what?
Collect the necessary information, now.
Not when you decide to leave or when you are ready to file for divorce, NOW! Seriously, if you are readying this article, stop, make sure you have everything you need in your possession, and then come back after you are finished.
There is an old lawyerly adage: salt the facts, the law will keep. Save all photos, recordings, and any written communications (emails, texts, social media posts, etc.). Information, properly organized and preserved, will prepare us for battle and each piece of information is both a weapon and a shield. Also, it may be a good idea to not blow the “separation whistle” too early. Make sure you have everything in place before letting your spouse know that it is time to reevaluate the relationship.
What about protecting evidence? When it comes time to consult with an attorney about divorce, both parties have already gone into protective mode to secure their assets and protect their future. There is always the risk that a party may attempt to hide assets, property, or those little secrets they do not want to be on display before a crowded court room. To ensure that you have everything you need to prove your case, our attorneys are prepared on day one to notify the other side that the destruction of assets or the waste of property won’t be accepted! This includes taking steps such as placing your spouse on notice of the consequences of destroying information or getting the court involved by issuing an injunctive order, which stops a party from doing something.
I don’t want to be in this relationship any longer, when can I get a divorce?
The short answer, when you’re separated for more than a year or incurable insanity. I know what you’re thinking, “I have to wait a year, or they have to be insane?!” We get it, a year seems like a long time, but we promise there is a reason to this and we hope our answer gives you hope that a better day is coming.
In North Carolina there are two grounds for absolute divorce (1) separation for more than one year and (2) incurable insanity.
Separation for more than a year is necessary because the state of North Carolina is that unseen third party in your relationship. When you were married, you applied for a marriage license and essentially availed yourself to the duties and boundaries provided by our court system. As such, the court wants to discourage spouses from breaking up and encourage making up, legally speaking. This is because property, money, children, and other entanglements come into play when you say those beautiful words, “I do.” (This all assumes you file your marriage certificate with the Register of Deeds, we will discuss the impact of failing to file in another blog post).
You also must establish that one of the parties has lived in the state at least 6 months preceding the suit for divorce. So, in short, separating for more than one year and at least one person living in North Carolina is all you need to go forward with your divorce.
Often potential clients come into the office and they want to hash out all of the awful things their spouse did during their marriage as a means to speed up the divorce clock, but this has no effect on the waiting period. But there is good news. All of those factors will help when seeking custody of shared children, alimony, and equitable distribution.
The second option for an absolute divorce is incurable insanity. Now, we understand your spouse may have been a bit crazy at some or all points of your marriage, but this is not grounds for incurable insanity.
To get a divorce for incurable insanity, the sane spouse must institute the action. They must make a showing to the court they have lived separate and apart for three consecutive years and remain living apart by reason of incurable insanity. This provision is tricky and to have a divorce on this ground, we encourage you to seek our legal counsel.
Call us at 828.884.6575 to schedule your consultation, or fill out this form, and email it to our office to schedule an appointment.
Article by: Camille E. Hill, Attorney-at-Law
Copyright 2019 The Neumann Law Firm, PLLC