I just need a “simple divorce,” is a statement we often hear. But is any divorce really that simple? Sometimes, a simple divorce is all that is needed. However, for most married couples, entry of a simple divorce without preserving certain claims with the court can be a costly, terrible mistake.
If a couple owns no property together, were married for a short time and kept their finances and property completely separate and have little to no retirement accounts –then a simple divorce may be an option. However, if you and your spouse own real property together and both of your names are on the deed to the property a divorce greatly impacts your ownership interest in the property and how and when you can sell it. This applies to all real property as well as time shares and other interests in property. Entry of a divorce without executing deeds to the real property can turn your “tenancy by the entirety” into “tenants in common” and may greatly impact your equity interest in the property and the steps you must go through to sell it.
Granting of a simple divorce, which is also referred to as a “no-fault absolute divorce,” or divorce by summary judgment, without entering into a separation agreement or filing a complaint with the court will waive your ability to ask for post-separation support, alimony, and equitable distribution. While claims for child support and child custody can still be raised, your ability to receive your marital interest in retirement accounts, bank accounts, real estate, as well as the possessions purchased during the marriage or gifted to the marriage will be waived. It is crucial that you speak to an attorney to understand your rights and what you may be walking away from prior to getting a divorce.
In order to file for an absolute divorce in North Carolina, you and your spouse must be living separate and apart for a year and a day and you must be a resident of North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing the action. Living in separate bedrooms or separate floors of the house does not constitute “separation,” in North Carolina. One spouse has to move out of the martial home with the intent of not resuming the martial relationship.
If you have questions or concerns relating to the topic of this article or any other divorce related legal issue, please reach out to us at 704-243-9693 or at www.coxlawfirm.com.