Divorce in North Carolina
If spouse doesn't respond, judge can still grant uncontested divorce
Ensuring legality and enforceability
Many experts agree that even in an uncontested divorce, at least the Petitioner (the one filing for divorce) should have an attorney, in order to ensure that all terms all legal and that the final decree is enforceable. Of course, a contested divorce almost guarantees the necessity of a compatible, experienced attorney for both parties.
Emotional well being and domestic violence
Additionally, each party should consider therapy, some form of grief counseling or spiritual guidance, both during and after the divorce, because even a so-called "amicable" divorce can be the source of great pain and a sense of loss--or even death...the death of a relationship, the death of dreams. Furthermore, if domestic violence is involved, legal experts and law enforcement authorities advise dealing with such problems immediately.
Fault not addressed in uncontested divorce
In North Carolina, according to North Carolina State University, "An uncontested divorce case can be filed in North Carolina based upon a one-year separation and a six-month residency requirement. Allegations of fault such as adultery, abandonment, cruelty, indignities, etc., will not be addressed by the court at an uncontested divorce hearing and there will be no division of property or awards of alimony. If such matters have not been satisfactorily addressed by the parties or included in a signed separation agreement, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who handles family law matters before filing for an uncontested divorce. Failure to do so could result in the loss of important legal rights.
All issues must be addressed in agreement
"As part of an uncontested divorce action you will need to include in the divorce the custody arrangement for your minor child(ren). However, child support and visitation schedules will not be addressed by the court at an uncontested divorce hearing. If your spouse objects to your recitation of custody the matter will have to be continued and dealt with at a subsequent hearing. Once again, it is advisable to have an attorney representing you in all such proceedings."
Respondent has right to contest the proceedings
According to Women'sLaw.org, if the other spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, that spouse "will have the opportunity to file papers telling his side. This is called 'contesting the divorce.' If [she or] he contests it, then you will have a series of court appearances to sort the issues out. If your spouse does not disagree with anything, then he [or she] should sign the papers and send them back to you and/or the court. If your spouse agrees with everything and signs the papers, this is called an 'uncontested divorce.' Also, if a certain period of time passes and your spouse does not sign the papers or file any papers of his/her own, you may be able to proceed with the divorce as an uncontested divorce anyway."
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