One question I get all the time is what should I do if my spouse won’t agree to the divorce?  Usually, it’s not that your spouse won’t agree to the divorce, but rather they won’t agree to the custody arrangement, child support, your alimony request, or how to divide up the property.

Obtaining a divorce in North Carolina is a fairly simple process – you must be separated for a year and one party must be a resident of North Carolina for the past six months.  If you meet this criteria, then there is virtually nothing that your spouse can do to stop you from finalizing the divorce.

However, there are a couple of hidden landmines here that you must be careful of.  If you are seeking spousal support or there is property that must be divided, you must have either resolved these issues (via a written separation and property settlement agreement), or you must have a claim pending before the court when the divorce is finalized.  Having a claim pending means that you have filed a complaint for alimony, post-separation support, attorney’s fees or equitable distribution – it doesn’t have to have been resolved yet, just pending before the court.

If, however, you have not filed a claim in court, and you have not resolved these issues via a written agreement, then you lose your ability to have a court make these decisions for you… forever.  So if you are not yet certain whether you should file for absolute divorce or not, than I recommend that you speak with an attorney (or schedule a divorce assessment) to learn about your legal rights.