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Uncontested divorce procedure and requirements

An uncontested divorce is the least complicated type of divorce in North Carolina and involves a few basic steps. First, one party files court papers to ask for a divorce along with details of property division, alimony and child custody if applicable, then the other party is notified of the filing. A hearing is then scheduled, with both spouses notified of the hearing date, and finally, a judge signs the decree at the hearing granting the divorce.

Uncontested divorce is also known as "do-it-yourself divorce" and describes the process typically undergone by those seeking a more amicable separation without a lot of arguments over property division, child support, alimony or other concerns. Both parties generally draft the divorce agreement together, signed in the presence of a notary public. In this case, the defendant party can sign an Acceptance of Service, which speeds up the process. Another form of uncontested divorce occurs when one party files with a divorce court and the other party fails to respond to the petition.

The process becomes somewhat more complicated when minor children are involved. With the initial divorce filing, an affidavit must be filed for each unemancipated child indicating information such as where the child has lived, decisions regarding that child's custody, and that child's overall status with regard to the divorce.

Even in cases of uncontested divorce, it is generally recommended that each party consult with separately-retained legal counsel for assistance in drafting an agreement. This is particularly applicable in the case of couples with significant amounts of marital property, as it is usually preferable to reach an accord on how that property will be divided between the parties as opposed to having a court make that decision.

Source: Divorce support, "North Carolina Uncontested Divorce", September 10, 2014

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