Should I opt for a DIY divorce during COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made things a little more difficult for couples wanting to separate and divorce in Charlotte. With court delays due to a temporary limit on operations and stay-at-home orders, many couples have considered the possibility of a “DIY” or uncontested divorce to move the process along. The NC court system reopened on June 1, 2020, and North Carolina is well into phase 2 of reopening. Although you may want to hurry through the divorce process, getting the best outcome for you and your family takes time and the right attorney on your side.
Divorce in Charlotte
NC requires couples to go through a separation period of 1 year before filing for divorce. You must live separately from your spouse during this time. Additionally, NC is a “no-fault” divorce jurisdiction, which means that neither party has to prove marital fault in order to obtain a divorce after the year of separation.
Once the couple has lived apart for at least 12 consecutive months, an absolute divorce – termination of the marriage – may be obtained.
However, while the separation process takes time, a divorce can be resolved relatively quickly once the year is up if both spouses take the time beforehand to negotiate divorce litigation issues like alimony, marital property, child custody, etc. If agreements cannot be reached, then the divorce will be taken to the court system.
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What is a “DIY” Divorce?
An uncontested divorce, also known as a DIY divorce, is a no-fault divorce where both parties must agree on all issues – property division, custody, spousal support, etc. The court will not address these issues before signing off on the divorce.
Couples that file for an uncontested divorce might choose to do so without the legal aid of attorneys, and, in doing so, may run into some unintended consequences. For example,
- An uncontested divorce may leave you with unfair child support.
- Filing for divorce without the help of experienced family law attorneys may lead to missing deadlines, filing incorrect documents or missing necessary ones, or making any number of mistakes on very important documents.
- A DIY divorce could leave you with more debt and fewer assets if not negotiated correctly. North Carolina uses the document of “equitable distribution,” which is not a 50/50 split.
Why should I avoid a DIY divorce?
An uncontested divorce is not always the best route, even during the COVID pandemic. Couples may not be able to agree without the help of mediation, and they may end up in court anyway.
Additionally, under NC law, should you get divorced without claiming equitable distribution or alimony, you will lose the right to pursue those claims forever.
Talk to an attorney before you make a decision
Our team of family law attorneys is here to help you. We have the knowledge and confidence necessary to handle any personal and legal issues that affect your family life, no matter how complex they may be. Let us be your advocate and trusted counsel.
Relying on experienced Charlotte attorneys may help you to avoid the consequences of an uncontested divorce.