Divorce


Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh Firm Led By Board Certified Specialist

Serving the Triangle Area

Many North Carolina couples who want to divorce are shocked to find out that they have to be separated for one year and one day before their marriage can be dissolved. Led by Board Certified Specialist in Family Law Gray Ellis, Esq., (one of only a few practicing attorneys in Durham County commanding this designation), the attorneys at Ellis Family Law can explain the legal process of divorce and your options.

North Carolina has two types of divorce:

  • Absolute divorce. An absolute divorce is the action that terminates the marriage. An absolute divorce is not based on fault, but rather a separation of the spouses for at least one year and one day with at least one spouse having the intent for that separation to be permanent. Only a court can give a couple a divorce; parties to a marriage cannot contract to be divorced. Contrary to popular sentiment, there is no requirement that both spouses "sign" for the divorce. As long as you meet the jurisdictional requirements to obtain a divorce, there is little to nothing your spouse can do to stop the divorce judgment from being entered. If you receive a complaint for absolute divorce without spousal support and property division being resolved by written agreement or by the court, you may lose these rights forever if you fail to respond in the appropriate legal manner required! If you are served with a complaint for absolute divorce it is imperative that you meet with one of our attorneys immediately to discuss your rights and what you need to do to protect them before they are lost.
  • Divorce from bed and board. Divorce from bed and board arises when there has been some type of uncondoned and unprovoked marital misconduct, i.e., substance abuse, abandonment, adultery, domestic violence, etc. It is a legally sanctioned separation and cuts off certain liability one spouse has for the other. A divorce from bed and board claim is infrequent, but may be appropriate in certain situations. It is important to discuss with one of our attorneys if this type of claim is appropriate in your situation.

However, just because you have to wait one year and one day to divorce doesn't mean that you cannot resolve all other issues surrounding your marriage such as child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support, and marital property division.

For more information about divorce: Call Ellis Family Law at 919-688-9400 or fill out the contact form on this site.

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