When you decide to end your marriage, you likely want to be able to move on with your life as soon as possible. For this reason, one of the most common questions that family law firms hear from prospective clients is how long does the divorce process take? Because no two divorces are the same, the length of time to finalize a divorce can vary widely, though the following is a general overview of divorce in North Carolina and how long you may have to wait.
The Separation Period
Most states have some type of waiting period for a divorce. However, North Carolina has a specific requirement that married couples must be separated for at least twelve months before they can even file a divorce petition. This separation must be physical – meaning that you live in different residences for the year. Living in separate bedrooms or acting like an unmarried couple will not suffice. It is important to keep records of when one spouse moved out in order to file for divorce as soon as you can. You may seek a legal separation agreement that oversees financial and child-related matters during your separation.
After You File the Petition
After you have lived apart for one year and one day, you can file the divorce petition. You should consult with a lawyer ahead of time so they can have your petition prepared when it is time to file. You must serve the petition on your spouse, who then has a certain number of days to respond to the petition if they so choose. They may request an extra 30-day extension to file a response. Once the court receives a response or the time period expires, it can set a hearing date.
Factors that May Extend a Divorce
Some divorces may be finalized in 45 to 90 days after filing a petition. Other cases can take much longer. Some factors that can extend the divorce process include:
● You do not know how to locate your spouse
● Your spouse is actively deployed as a member of the U.S. military
● Your spouse contests the divorce
● You and your spouse cannot agree on how to resolve issues such as child custody, property division, or spousal support
While an attorney cannot guarantee against delays, having the right legal representation can help to reduce delays and resolve arising issues in an efficient manner. Not only can a faster divorce allow you to move forward sooner, but it can also save you stress and money. There are many ways a lawyer can help, including skilled negotiation, mediation, and other dispute resolution methods that can help prevent a trial in your divorce case.
Contact a Raleigh Divorce Attorney to Discuss Your Options Today
Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law is committed to helping clients in the Raleigh area through the divorce process as efficiently as possible. Daphne Edwards is an experienced divorce lawyer who can advise you of the best course of action in your situation. Call (919) 838-7160 or contact us online to learn more today.