If your spouse wants a divorce, but you do not, you may wonder if it is possible to oppose the divorce proceeding. Sometimes, one spouse is ready to move on from the marriage sooner than the other spouse. To understand how a North Carolina divorce could be opposed, you’ll need to learn more about the divorce process.
How Do You Get Divorced in North Carolina?
Divorce in North Carolina is considered “no fault”. This means that the spouse filing for divorce does not need to show anyone’s “fault” in the breakup of the marriage. A divorce can be granted whether or not there is fault by either spouse.
Some jurisdictions do require a showing of fault, such as adultery or abandonment. While these situations aren’t considered in granting a North Carolina divorce, they may be factors in awarding alimony or post-separation support.
To receive a divorce in North Carolina, one or both spouses must show that the couple has been separated for one year and a day. Separation means living separate and apart, in different residences, without any reconciliation. One person must also have the intent to live permanently separate and apart. Finally, you must show that one or both spouses have been living in North Carolina for at least six months before the divorce is filed.
Is It Possible to Oppose a Divorce?
Since North Carolina divorces are no fault and there are only a few requirements for granting a divorce, opposing a divorce could be difficult. Your spouse can file for divorce without your consent or approval. As long as he or she can show that you were married, separated for more than a year, and met the residency requirement, the judge can decide to approve the divorce.
If you do not agree to get divorced, you have a few defenses available. A ground for opposition could be that the couple was not legally separated for a year before the divorce was filed. This could bar the judge from granting the divorce. In practice, however, it is difficult to prevent the divorce entirely by using this argument. Your spouse simply could wait until you have been separated for a year and then re-file the divorce.
The official date of separation could be important for opposing other aspects of the divorce proceeding too. For example, a spouse who had an affair could try to show that the separation period started earlier. If their extramarital affair happened during the separation, rather than earlier, this could affect an alimony award. The other spouse will want to show that the separation started later, so the affair happened while the couple was still together.
Finally, a spouse who does not want to get divorced has some other options to explore. You may be able to negotiate a separation agreement with your spouse, or your spouse may agree to mediation or collaborative divorce. These can be good options for couples who do not want to experience the divorce process by going to court in a more adversarial setting.
You should seek the advice of a lawyer if your spouse has informed you that he or she is filing for divorce. A lawyer can advise you about how to protect your rights during the divorce process, especially if you do not want a divorce. You may have grounds to oppose the divorce, or you may be able to take advantage of alternative divorce methods. Reach out to a lawyer to learn more.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you have learned that your spouse wants to end your marriage, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.