Under North Carolin law an uncontested divorce requires:

  • Fulfilling the residency requirement of six months
  • A minimum one-year separation from your spouse


Before the North Carolina court has jurisdiction over your divorce, there is a residency requirement.  That means you or your spouse must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least six months before the filing for absolute divorce. If you or your spouse has not been in the state for at least six months, you are not yet eligible to file in this state.

Live Separate and Apart:

You and your spouse must have lived separate and apart for at least one year before the divorce complaint may be filed.  The judge will look closely at these dates.   If you file before the 365 days have passed, your divorce will be tossed out of court.

To be separated, you or your spouse must have moved out of your shared home.   Additionally, at least one of you must have intended for the separation to be permanent. Once you have lived apart for one year and one day, then you may file a compliant for an uncontested divorce.

North Carolina is a “no-fault” divorce state. In other words, to get divorced, you do not need to prove that the other spouse was a lousy spouse or anything like that.  All you have to prove is that you were separated for at least a year with the intent to live separate and apart.


If you or your spouse file for divorce and the divorce is granted, certain rights will be lost unless claimed before the judge signs the divorce.   These rights are to spousal support and property distribution.  They are important.  Don’t make the mistake of getting a divorce without preserving these rights if you want to claim them.  For this, talk to a lawyer to make sure it is handled correctly.


What may look simple on the surface may be much more complicated and impactful.   Remember that most of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic was below the surface.  Even in the simplest cases, it is usually advisable for the spouses to have a seapration agreement that settles financial matters and basic issues related to the chidlren.   See the warning above about preserving rights.  I can not stress this enough.   Make sure your rights are preserved.

Rember that when you are unaware of your rights and the process there is a greater chance of being taken advantage of by your spouse. Your divorce lawyer will take care of these issues for you, including filing the proper paperwork that preserves your rights, serving your spouse, appearing in court, and speaking in front of a judge.


Raleigh family law attorney Scott Allen handles divorce cases and has over twenty-eight years of experience. If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at