What Do I Do After I File a Notice of Hearing for My Divorce in North Carolina?

By Mike Broemmel

Couple fighting

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In North Carolina, an uncontested divorce is available even if you have yet to sort out financial, custody and other issues. The judge terminates the marriage and sets future hearings to deal with these other issues. You must live separately from your spouse for one year before filing for divorce and either you or your spouse must be a North Carolina resident for at least six months before starting a divorce.

Preliminary Requirements and Filing

At least one of you must live in North Carolina for six months or more, and you and your spouse must live separately for one year before filing for divorce. When you file, you complete the divorce complaint form and take it to the district court in the county where you live. You file the complaint and domestic civil action cover sheet with the clerk of the court. A copy of the complaint is served on the other spouse, either by certified mail with return receipt or Sheriff's Department. Your spouse has 30 days to file a response to the complaint with the court, which should indicate agreement with the request for divorce in an uncontested case.

Notice of Hearing Form

After the response is filed by your spouse in the divorce case, you obtain a hearing date from the court. The clerk's office, or administrative assistant to the judge assigned to the case, provides the date and time for the hearing. If you were the one who filed for divorce, you complete a notice of hearing form and serve a copy on your spouse. No specific period of time must lapse between the filing of the complaint, response and the scheduling of the hearing in an uncontested divorce, provided a response is filed.

Uncontested Divorce Hearing

If you filed for the divorce, you must go to the hearing. Your spouse is not required to attend, but he can do so. Ask the court clerk what paperwork you need to bring to the hearing. Typically, this will include a divorce decree form and marital settlement agreement, if reached, among other documents. You should also bring along a copy of the original complaint, response and proof of service, for reference. The judge will ask some basic questions about the case and confirm you still want a divorce. In some North Carolina counties, including Mecklenburg for example, a hearing for an uncontested divorce may not be required. Provided all of the divorce papers are in order, the judge signs the decree ordering an absolute divorce.

Additional Uncontested Divorce Facts

If financial, child custody and similar issues are not resolved by the hearing date, the court addresses them at later hearings. However, if you have financial issues, such as alimony, that you want addressed, you need to file a motion with the court advising the judge of your claims before the divorce hearing. Although the court may not decide these issues until after entering a divorce decree, you must let the judge know about these matters in order to preserve your right to bring them up at a later date.