What You Need to Know about Same-Sex Divorce in North Carolina

What You Need to Know about Same-Sex Divorce in North Carolina

Before 2015, same-sex married couples found it difficult to divorce. At the time, many states did not recognize same-sex marriage (or same-sex divorce). The states that did recognize it usually required you to live in the state for a certain amount of time to establish “residency.” This presented an economic hurdle that was hard for same-sex spouses to overcome.

In 2015, the landmark United States Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, legalized same-sex marriage in the United States. Because of that case, same-sex couples can get married (and divorced) in any state.

Both heterosexual and same-sex couples can take advantage of no-fault divorces in North Carolina.

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There are three elements to a no-fault divorce in North Carolina. First, the married couple must live separate and apart for one year before filing for divorce. Second, one spouse must intend to end the marital relationship. Third, at least one party must live in North Carolina for six months before filing for divorce.

Spouses don’t have to agree to get divorced in North Carolina. You should receive a no-fault divorce if you prove all three elements–even if the other spouse still wants to stay married. Likewise, a formal legal separation is not required. To qualify as separated, the parties must live at separate addresses (living is separate bedrooms in the same home does not count as living “separate and apart” in North Carolina.)

If one spouse contests the date of separation, you should have past billing statements or other documented proof showing when the change of address occurred. But if one spouse contests the date of separation based on reconciliation, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.  Disputes about reconciliation usually occur when there are high value assets or spousal support payments involved.

With a knowledgeable and diligent advocate on your side, divorce doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re going through a divorce, contact our office to speak with one of our experienced family law attorneys today.

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