An uncontested absolute divorce is one where both parties agree, and neither party is contesting or fighting the divorce. In Gastonia NC, a married couple may get divorced after they have been separated for over one year. This blog is going to summarize the process of obtaining an uncontested absolute divorce in Gaston County, North Carolina.
REQUIREMENTS FOR FILING AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE IN GASTON COUNTY
A divorce proceeding starts by one spouse filing a complaint at the Gaston County Clerk’s Office. In a divorce complaint, certain language must be included to meet the statutory requirements. Once a married couple has been separated for over one year, either party may file a Complaint with the Gaston County Clerk of Court requesting an absolute divorce. Along with the verified Complaint, the moving party or Plaintiff must fill out and file a Domestic Cover Sheet, a Civil Summons and a Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Affidavit. The Plaintiff will also be required to pay a filing fee payable to the Gaston County Clerk of Court at the time of filing.
After filing the above-mentioned papers, the Plaintiff will be responsible for serving the paperwork on their spouse, otherwise known as the Defendant. Serving the opposing party in an uncontested divorce can be accomplished by having the opposing party sign a legal document to be filed with the Gaston County Clerk of Court called an Acceptance of Service. This paper signifies that the Plaintiff has personally delivered the Complaint and Civil Summons to the Defendant.
RESPONDING TO A UNCONTESTED DIVORCE FILING
Once the Defendant has accepted service of the paperwork, they have 30 days, by statute, to file an Answer to the Complaint. Once the 30 days has passed, the Plaintiff can file a Motion for Summary Judgment on the divorce pleadings and Notice of Hearing for the Motion for Summary Judgment to be heard. A Notice of Hearing is paperwork that notifies the opposing party of a court date. The Plaintiff schedules the Court date and writes it in the calendar binder located in the Civil Clerk of Court office, under the uncontested divorce section. The Plaintiff must give the Defendant at least ten (10) days notice if sending the paper to Defendant by confirmed fax and adding an additional three (3) days if mailing the Motion and Notice of Hearing and should keep this in mind when calendaring their matter. The Motion of Summary Judgment and Notice of Hearing must be mailed to the Defendant and the Plaintiff must certify to the Court they have done so.
At the hearing the Plaintiff must have a Divorce Judgment and a Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment prepared to provide to the presiding Judge. The Plaintiff needs to ensure they are in the Courtroom prior to the Judge taking the bench. The Judge will call out calendar call and then usually proceed with the Uncontested Divorces. The Plaintiff will take the Divorce Judgment to the Judge and provide the Certificate of Absolute Divorce to the Courtroom Clerk. The presiding Judge will review the paperwork that has been filed to make sure is complies with the North Carolina General Statutes. If the divorce is granted, the Plaintiff must mail out a copy of the Divorce Judgment to the Defendant and certify to the Court they have done so.
REPRESENTING YOURSELF IN AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE
Maneuvering the legal system for something such as an uncontested divorce can be a complicated and overwhelming process. Persons who are unrepresented may attempt to request a divorce from the Court and in the end have their Divorces denied because of an issue in their paperwork or something in the process that was not done correctly. There is nothing more upsetting and frustrating than getting to the court hearing and having your request for a Divorce denied, because of an avoidable mistake. This setback can cause missed work, unnecessary stress and mental anguish, realizing they must figure out what was done incorrectly.
HIRING AN ATTORNEY IN AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE
Seeking legal advice from a divorce attorney who is familiar with family law and practices in Gastonia can alleviate some of this stress. A divorce attorney can draft the paperwork, get the opposing party served, calendar the matter and attend court on your behalf. Hiring an attorney could save you the time and effort it takes to research the process of obtaining a Divorce and searching for the proper forms (which may or may not be specifically what North Carolina law requires). If both parties are in agreement with the divorce the moving party may speak with their spouse about splitting the attorney fees in order to save money. Lastly, an experienced family attorney should advise you about possible marital property distribution claims or spousal support claims, which maybe lost once the Divorce takes place.
An experienced Minick Law Family Law and Divorce Lawyer is standing by to answer your questions and address your concerns. Call us today (704) 312-1515 to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you through this challenging process.
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