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of divorce in North Carolina

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How long does the divorce process take?

When you decide to end your marriage, you may not know what to expect. And one of the first questions – and worries – you might have is how long the process will take.

Most divorces do not mirror the ones depicted in the media that seem to drag on and on, but this is a valid question many people have as they begin the divorce proceedings.

The answer is not always straightforward

When facing the uncertainty divorce can bring, it is understandable that you want to know how long it will take to navigate this often-stressful process. Unfortunately, there is no specific answer to the question of how long a divorce could take.

North Carolina spouses must complete the required separation period of one year and one day before they can file for absolute divorce. Once they file, on average, it could take anywhere between 40 and 90 days for a divorce to be finalized.

All other domestic claims can be resolved during this one year and one day separation period. Once parties are physically separated, they can proceed with filing for equitable distribution (property division), spousal support, child support and child custody.  By dealing with these issues during the period of separation, many couples can resolve all matters in advance of filing for absolute divorce.

How long these domestic claims take to resolve differs for every couple. There are some cases where this process can take over a year, while it takes a few months in others. It all depends on the details of your individual situation.

There are several factors that could draw out the process. For example, how long it takes to finalize your domestic claims can depend on:

  • How you approach the situation, such as whether you choose mediation or litigation;
  • Whether or not you and your spouse agree on certain matters, such as how you will divide your property;
  • If you have complex assets; and
  • If you must establish a child custody arrangement.

Other factors might apply, but these are the primary issues that could impact how long it takes to resolve your case.

If you and your spouse have no children and generally agree to the terms of your divorce, the process could be fairly quick. On the other hand, negotiating child custody and resolving disagreements effectively can take time and prolong the process.

Regardless of whether you and your spouse agree on the matters in your divorce, you should consider consulting an experienced divorce attorney to guide you through the process efficiently.