My husband and I were married in Dallas in 2009. Even though we were married in Texas, can we get a divorce in North Carolina?

Yes.

Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution contains what is called the Full Faith and Credit Clause. This says that state governments have to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” Texas and North Carolina—and all other states—have to honor the regulatory decisions of each other. Because of this clause, your Texas marriage is recognized as valid in North Carolina (and every other state). Because of this clause, is you get a North Carolina divorce, that divorce will be recognized in Texas (and also every other state).

This is true even though every state has slightly different procedures and laws governing marriage and divorce.

The first step—which you may have already accomplished—is to establish residency in North Carolina. To do that, either you or your spouse must live in the state without interruption for at least six months.

The next step—again, something that you may already have done—is to separate from your spouse by living apart for at least a year. This period can begin even if you are living out of state, but you must be able to specify the date when you started living separately and apart.

What happens next

After you have satisfied the one-year waiting period, you can begin the legal process for a North Carolina no-fault divorce. The following list summarizes what will follow.

  • You will file for divorce in the county where you or your spouse lives.
  • You will arrange for your spouse to be served a copy of your divorce complaint. You can hire a process server, or you can ask the sheriff of the county where you spouse lives to deliver the papers.
  • One month later, you can request the court to schedule your divorce hearing.
  • If you on amicable terms with your spouse, this is a good time to negotiate over dividing assets and debts and making plans for alimony, child custody, and child support. You can also rely on your North Carolina divorce lawyer to confer with your spouse’s lawyer to settle these issues.
  • Go to the divorce hearing. If you and your spouse have not yet resolved all the issues of your marriage, the judge will schedule a trial date. If you have come to an agreement, that document will become the framework for the court’s orders for the divorce.

It’s not really that simple

What we have outlined here is absolutely the simplest case of a North Carolina divorce. Because unexpected complications can arise at any point, you are best prepared if you have representation from a Wilmington family law firm at your side. Contact the Speaks Law Firm at 910-341-7570 or 877-593-4233 toll-free today to learn how we can help get you through this difficult time on the best terms available.

R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.