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What Can I Do to Ensure My Divorce Is Valid in North Carolina?

Two people holding signs with a half a broken heart over their faces sitting on a couch with a barrier between them.

According to WRAL-TV, a few divorces in North Carolina might not be valid due to a defective form in a new online court system. In February, the state introduced an electronic court filing system in Wake, Johnston, Harnett, and Lee counties.

In June, a letter was sent to individuals who filed for divorce using the eCourts system on their own, informing them about the discovered flaw. The letter was issued by the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, one of the two organizations working to rectify the issue that originated from an imperfect online form.

The letter explains some potential consequences, including the inability to legally remarry and uncertainties regarding the paternity of children conceived after the divorce.

Richard Waugaman, who leads the Gailor Family Law Litigation Clinic at Campbell University, shared that there is an issue with the provided forms. According to him, the materials given contained an error. Waugaman expressed the need to undo any incorrectly completed procedures and ensure that any affected individuals, who believe they are divorced, are indeed legally divorced.

What Can I Do During the Divorce Process to Help Ensure That My Divorce Is Valid?

Divorce is never an easy process, but it can be even more complicated if you're not sure whether your divorce is legally valid. This is a common concern among North Carolina residents who are in the process of divorcing or already divorced. If you complete the following steps, you can help ensure your divorce is valid in North Carolina:

  • Meet the residency requirements – To file for divorce in North Carolina, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing. This is called the residency requirement, and it's a crucial step in ensuring that your divorce is valid. If you or your spouse does not meet this requirement, the court may dismiss the case, leaving you without a legally valid divorce.
  • File the proper paperwork – Another important step in ensuring that your divorce is valid is to file the proper paperwork with the court. This includes the complaint for divorce, summons, and any other required documents. In North Carolina, you must also complete a financial affidavit and a child support worksheet if you have children.
  • Serve your spouse correctly – After you file the divorce complaint, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the complaint and summons. This is called service of process, and it's important to ensure that your spouse has notice of the divorce and an opportunity to respond. In North Carolina, you can serve your spouse in person, by certified mail, or by publication if you can't locate them.
  • Attend the required hearings - After you file for divorce and serve your spouse, you may be required to attend one or more court hearings. These hearings are important to ensure that your divorce is valid and is based on a fair and equitable distribution of property and support obligations. If you fail to attend these hearings, the court may dismiss your case and leave you without a legally valid divorce.
  • Follow the court's orders – Once your divorce is final, you must comply with all court orders related to property division, alimony, child support, and child custody. Failure to comply with these orders can result in legal consequences, including fines and even imprisonment. It's important to follow these orders to ensure that your divorce remains valid and enforceable.

If you have any questions or concerns about the validity of your divorce or need help with your divorce case, don't hesitate to consult an experienced family law attorney.

If you want to learn more about the divorce process in North Carolina, don't hesitate to contact our knowledgeable family law attorneys at Rech Law, P.C. You can reach us at (704) 659-0007 or get in touch with us online. We provide confidential consultations to help you better understand your options.

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