Where Can Our Divorce Be Filed?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The decision to get a divorce is a difficult one, but it can also be an opportunity to head in a healthier direction with your life. In seeking a divorce, however, finality is critical to moving forward. In other words, you want to have a final, enforceable court order that dissolves your marriage or you will be stuck in legal limbo. This can only happen if the court that enters your final order has jurisdiction to do so.

What is Jurisdiction?

In essence, only courts with jurisdiction can hear and enter orders regarding your divorce. Jurisdiction is a Latin term that translates to “law speak” or “to speak the law.” It is an important concept, because without jurisdiction over a subject matter and the people involved in a lawsuit, a court cannot enter enforceable orders. Imagine you have spent a lot of money bringing or defending yourself in a lawsuit, going through trial, and obtaining an order—only to learn that the order isn’t worth the paper it is written on. This is why courts and attorneys are mindful about where a case is heard.

Where Do the Parties Live and How Long Have They Lived There?

North Carolina is an absolute divorce state, which allows a spouse to file for a no-fault divorce as soon as the couple has lived separate and apart for a year. Once a year has passed, a spouse can file for divorce in North Carolina if either spouse has resided in the state for at least six months before the lawsuit is filed. Essentially, a court acquires jurisdiction over a divorce suit by virtue of one spouse maintaining residence in this state.

Contact New Direction Family Law

If you are seeking a divorce in North Carolina, contact New Direction Family Law. We devote our practice to divorces and divorce-related issues, including separation agreements, absolute divorce, equitable distribution, alimony, child custody, and child support. Our attorneys are professional, intelligent, effective, and they are motivated to advocate for you. Let us assist you. We serve clients throughout Wake, Johnston, Durham and surrounding counties. Contact our office at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit us online through our website.