A very common question I get when meeting with clients about divorce is, “What if my spouse won’t sign for a divorce?” Or I’ll get an exasperated comment from a person who has been separated for many years but never divorced because they, “just know my spouse won’t agree to divorce.”
This a sad and frustrating situation to be in - but I have good news!
My answer usually surprises people who have delayed their divorce (and delayed their life) on the premise of an uncooperative spouse. YOUR SPOUSE DOES NOT HAVE TO “AGREE” TO A DIVORCE.
Let me say that again: Your spouse does not have to agree to a divorce. Your spouse does not have sign anything for you to formally divorce him or her.
In North Carolina, a person is eligible for an absolute divorce if they have (1) been living separate and apart from their spouse for one-year and (2) if either spouse has lived in the state for the last six-months. N.C.G.S. § 50-6
That’s it. You must be separated for one-year and someone has to have lived in North Carolina for at least six months. Even if you are eligible for divorce, remember, obtaining an absolute divorce can impact other valuable rights and it is important to discuss these issues with your attorney before moving forward.