North Carolina views a divorce as a release from a bed and board commitment. Residents who wish to petition for a divorce must live in the state for at least 6 months before filing. The court allows fault and no-fault divorces. Before granting a divorce, the parties are required to live separate and apart for one year without cohabitation. The Petition for Divorce, the Decree of Divorce and any necessary verification are common North Carolina divorce forms filed in every case.
Both parties must reach an agreement on spousal support, child custody, child support, and property distribution. If an agreement has already been reached, then a Martial Separation Agreement is filed with the court. The judge does not award spousal support in every case. The judge will order mediation for parties who refuse to reach an agreement.
Since North Carolina is an equitable property state, the court divides the martial property according to the needs of the spouses. The judge weighs the length of the marriage, other agreements with former spouses, the spouse's ability to maintain the property and who has custody of the children before making a final decision. The issues of child custody and child support are resolved at the same time. The state doesn’t have one preference over the other when deciding custody. The judge considers factors such as the child's relationship with each parent and the parent’s stability. Regardless of who has custody of the children, both parties must sign a Declaration under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act.
Upon issuing the final divorce decree, the woman may apply to have her maiden name restored, changed to the last name of a deceased husband, or changed to the name of a prior husband who is the father of her children. The children must have the father’s name.
Downloadable PDF Form: (Taken from Wake County Clerk of Superior Court in Raleigh, North Carolina.)