UNCONTESTED DIVORCE INFORMATION
Filing Cost s: $90.00 (cash) 3-4-2005
Service Alternatives : Certified Mail: $4.42 Sheriff Service: $ 15.00 (cash)
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.
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.
In order to obtain an uncontested divorce, you must first live separate and apart (in separate abodes) from your spouse for one year . After that year has elapsed, you will need to file the court papers in the county where either you or your spouse resides. There is a six-month residency requirement in North Carolina prior to seeking the divorce. Procedures vary county to county, so you will want to check with the Clerk's Office in the county where you intend to file for divorce for that particular county's procedure. Copies of the court papers may be obtained at the USLS office or at the Clerk of Court's Office. In Wake County, the court papers you will need to file consist of a Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet , three signed, notarized, and verified copies of the Complaint and four copies of the Civil Summons (two white and two yellow). The Clerk will date-stamp the papers and assign you a case number. The Clerk will put a copy of the papers in the court file and return the other copies to you. Be sure to tell the Clerk if you intend to serve the papers by certified mail. The current cost to file the divorce is $90.00 in cash. 3-4-2005
After you have filed the case at the Clerk's Office you will need to have the papers served on your spouse. This can be accomplished by either taking one copy of the complaint and two copies of the summons to the Sheriff's Department for service at a cost of $ 15.00 , or by sending one copy of the summons and complaint to your spouse by certified mail , return receipt requested at a cost of $4.42. 3-5-2005
If you attempt service through the Sheriff's Department, you should wait about 10 days to two weeks before you check with the Sheriff's Department to see if the papers have been served. The Sheriff's Department will usually make two or three attempts to serve the court papers before returning them to the Clerk's Office unserved. The number for the Wake County Sheriff's Department is (919) 856-6900 for service of process.
If you attempt service by certified mail, be sure to keep your postal receipts. The post office will date-stamp the white certified mail receipt and give it to you at the time of mailing. The green return receipt card will be mailed back to you if someone signs for the papers. The date that your spouse or someone at their residence signs for the papers should be written or stamped on the green card by the Post Office when the spouse signs for the papers. Your spouse has thirty (30) days after receiving the divorce papers to file an answer objecting to the divorce. If he or she fails to do so, you can proceed with obtaining your uncontested divorce. Because North Carolina is a no fault divorce state , there is very little a spouse can object to as it relates to the divorce itself i.e. one year's separation and six month residency.
In Wake County, when you find out the date of service from the Sheriff's Department, or when you have received the green certified mail return receipt card, you may select a divorce hearing date. The earliest court date that can be selected is the first Friday which falls 30 days after the date of service of the court papers on your spouse (not the date you filed the papers). You will need to complete a hearing request form and mail a copy to your spouse and to the Wake County Domestic Clerk at the address indicated on the form.
When you go to your divorce hearing on the court date you have selected, be sure to take a copy of the complaint and summons , the certificate of absolute divorce or annulment form (you will get a copy of this form from the clerk's office when you initially file your divorce papers), and three copies of the divorce judgment . If you accomplished service by certified mail you will also need to take an affidavit of service by certified mail and the certified mail receipts (the green card and the white slip). See this office for the form of the Affidavit .
The uncontested divorce hearing should not take very long. The judge will ask you questions about your date of marriage, your date of separation and whether or not you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for a year. If you have children, the court will inquire as to their legal status of custody and support. If everything is in order, the judge will sign all three copies of the divorce judgment form. One copy will be placed in the court file and the other two copies will be given to you. Retain one copy for your records and send the other copy to your spouse.
If you would like to resume your maiden name as part of your divorce, that request must be included in your divorce complaint and the divorce judgment. You will need to present a certified copy of the divorce judgment in order to have your name changed on your school records, driver's license and social security card. Some credit card companies may also require a copy before they will issue you cards in your maiden name. Additional certified copies of your divorce judgment may be obtained from the Wake County Clerk's Office for a nominal fee.
Directions to Wake County Courthouse:
Take Hillsborough Street toward downtown Raleigh. Follow the road as it curves past the International House of Pancakes. That road is Morgan Street. You will pass the Irregardless Cafe and Charlie Goodnights as landmarks. Go approximately one to one and half miles until you come to Salisbury Street. Take a right onto Salisbury Street, which is a one-way street. The courthouse is located in the 3rd block on the left. The easiest place to park is in the old First Federal Parking deck, which is located on the right side of Salisbury Street, directly across from the courthouse. Your hearing request form should specify the courtroom your case will be heard in. Divorce cases are presently heard on the 9th floor of the courthouse at 9:00 a.m. on Fridays.
Information on name changes and divorce from the Wake County Courthouse website
Information from the North Carolina Bar Association on Divorce:
This is general information about divorce and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice as it relates to your particular situation. Consult with our office to discuss how your particular facts relate to the law.