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Timing and jurisdiction issues in a North Carolina divorce

There are numerous reasons that an individual might use in seeking to divorce a spouse, but it is important to understand and comply with state requirements related to the proceeding. In order for a court to consider a divorce action, either the plaintiff or the defendant must have been a resident of the state for at least six months prior to the filing. If both spouses are residents of the state, the action may be brought in a court with jurisdiction over either of the locations involved.

In addition to satisfying residency requirements for divorce, it must be shown that the grounds used for the action have been in existence for at least six months preceding the filing. However, exceptions to this may be made in cases of divorce from bed and board, an action that can be brought by an injured party whose spouse has committed serious offenses. Such a case may be brought for abandonment, cruel treatment that endangers the life of the plaintiff, excessive substance use, adultery or other indignities. Additionally, the six-month existence of grounds can be bypassed if a couple has lived apart and separate for at least one year.

Transfer of divorce or custody matters to a different jurisdiction might occur in a number of different situations. In a divorce that is initiated while both parties are residents of the state, for example, a request for a removal of action might be made by the defendant if the plaintiff moves out of state. Child support matters may be transferred to the appropriate jurisdiction if the parties no longer reside in the initial jurisdiction.

An individual facing a divorce action filed by the other party may want to discuss the matter with a lawyer, especially if any of the grounds or times involved are inaccurately stated. The lawyer may provide direction for gathering proof of the facts so that a response can be filed.

Source: North Carolina General Assembly , "Chapter 50. Divorce and Alimony. ", October 09, 2014

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