The laws concerning Divorce and alimony in North Carolina, is governed by Chapter 50 of North Carolina General Statute.
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
The following may be considered as the grounds of divorce:
The no-fault grounds spouse living separate and apart without cohabitation for 1 year as a result of irretrievable breakdown.
DIVORCE FROM BED AND BOARD ( LEGAL SEPARATION)
The court may grant divorces from bed and board on application of the party injured, made as by law provided, in the following cases if either party:
SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL DIVORCE PROCEDURES
There are no legal provisions in North Carolina for simplified divorce procedures. However, premarital and marital property settlement agreements are specifically recognized as valid. The payment or non-payment of alimony may be the subject of a marital settlement agreement.
MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS
If child custody is a contested issue, the court may order the parents to submit to mandatory mediation of that issue.
"Alimony" means an order for payment for the support and maintenance of a spouse or former spouse, periodically or in a lump sum, for a specified or for an indefinite term, ordered in an action for divorce, whether absolute or from bed and board, or in an action for alimony without divorce.
Alimony may be awarded to either of the spouses after considering the following factors
Both parents are primarily responsible for the support of a minor child and either parent may be ordered to pay child support. The factors that may be taken into consideration by the court awarding child support are:
The child support payments may require to be paid through the clerk of the court. Income withholding may be used if child support payments become delinquent. The child support obligations may require to be secured by a bond or mortgage. The court may require that a parent shall provide health insurance coverage for a child.
Joint or sole child custody is determined according to promote the best interest and welfare of the child. There is no presumption that either parent is better suited to have custody. No other factors for consideration are specified in the statute.
An order for custody must include findings of fact which support the determination of what is in the best interest of the child. Between the mother and father, whether natural or adoptive, no presumption shall apply as to who will better promote the interest and welfare of the child. Joint custody to the parents shall be considered upon the request of either parent.
Any order for custody shall include such terms, including visitation, as will best promote the interest and welfare of the child. If the court finds that domestic violence has occurred, the court shall enter such orders that best protect the children and party who were the victims of domestic violence.
An order for custody of a minor child may provide visitation rights for any grandparent of the child as the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate.
An order for custody of a minor child may provide for such child to be taken outside of the State, but if the order contemplates the return of the child to this State, the judge may require such person to give bond or other security conditioned upon the return of the child.
DISTRIBUTION OF MARITAL PROPERTY
North Carolina is an "equitable distribution" state. The separate property is not distributed and retained by the spouse who owns it, which may include:
Marital property (property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage and before the separation, including any pension or retirement fund benefits) will be divided equally unless the court finds that an equal division is not fair.
While making the order for distribution of the marital property the court may consider the following factors: