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There’s no such thing as “fault” in North Carolina divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2021 | Divorce |

Change is inevitable. As time goes on, people, relationships – and laws – change.

For example, couples needed a specific reason to end their marriage in the past. This is no longer the case. North Carolina is a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorce. But what does this mean for you if you are considering divorce, exactly?

You don’t need a reason to divorce

Since 1965, North Carolina has not considered “fault” in a divorce. This essentially means two things:

  1. You do not have to list “grounds for divorce”
  2. You do not have to prove there is a fault or a reason for your divorce

It is likely you have a reason you wish to end your marriage. However, it is not necessary to provide this reason when you file for divorce. You only have to meet the living and separation requirements to obtain a divorce.

Important note: Certain actions can still impact a divorce

There are cases where a former spouse’s actions could affect certain aspects of your divorce. A no-fault divorce simply means individuals no longer have to prove fault just to end a marriage. So, courts will not consider fault for a divorce overall, but they might consider it when it comes to:

  • Determining alimony payments
  • Dividing property equitably

This often only occurs if misconduct or an extramarital affair plays a large role in the divorce. Otherwise, fault rarely impacts the legal process.

Emotional “fault” still plays a role

Divorce is a complicated family matter. Involving legal procedures into the mix can make it even more so.

While the law might no longer recognize fault in a divorce, spouses often feel differently on an emotional level. It is common for spouses to feel guilty about a divorce or even blame each other for certain challenges from the past.

It is important to be aware of this and address it. However, it is also critical not to allow this feeling of emotional “fault” to impact the divorce proceedings – and, in turn, your future after the divorce.