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You’re Separated and Cannot Find Your Spouse

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

North Carolina is an absolute divorce state, meaning that couples must be separated for a period of a year before they can ask a family court for a divorce decree. Unfortunately, a lot can happen when couples are separated for long periods of time. Whether it is by circumstance or by design, once the relationship ends, some spouses stop communicating with each other. We’ve seen scenarios where spouses move away without a trace or simply don’t want to be found. Why is this a problem? Because of concepts known as “service” and “jurisdiction”. Jurisdiction is Latin for “to speak the law”. In essence, for any court in this country to create a valid, enforceable order against a person, it must have personal jurisdiction over that person. If it a court …

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What is a Default Judgment?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

When many people think of lawsuits, they think of highly contested legal showdowns that take place in front of a judge or jury. This is likely based on news stories or movies that contain situations of conflict, twists, and turns. For some people, the end result of their civil lawsuit is much more anticlimactic. This is because sometimes people choose not to respond or fight against lawsuits. This is where it is important to understand “default” judgments. What is a Default Judgment? In civil lawsuits North Carolina Rule of Civil Procedure 55 allows for “default” judgments against parties who do not timely respond to a lawsuit after being properly served with citation. In essence, the person who has been properly served with citation waives their right to defend themselves in …