A DIY divorce in the state of North Carolina has the following necessary steps:
1. Complete the court forms.
Any absolute divorce in North Carolina begins with the completion and filing of a Complaint for Absolute Divorce, Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet (AOC-CV-750), Civil Summons (AOC-CV-100), Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Affidavit (AOC- G-250). Also, a couple might need an optional form — a Petition to Proceed as an Indigent (AOC-G106) which is used if they cannot afford the court fees.
In addition, the spouses may need these completed forms to finish their absolute divorce:
- Notice of Hearing;
- Judgment of Absolute Divorce;
- Waiver and Answer (optional);
- Affidavit of Service of Process by Registered or Certified Mail (optional);
- Certificate of Absolute Divorce (DHHS 2089/Vital Records), which spouses will get from the courtroom clerk when they come to court for the divorce hearing.
2. File court papers in the clerk of court's office
An applicant should take three copies of the Complaint, the Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Affidavit, and four copies of the Summons to the Clerk of Court's office in the county where they will be filing.
Further, the spouses pay a fee for filing documents with the court. Currently, this amount is $225. If the couple cannot afford to pay this fee, they must file the Petition to Proceed as an Indigent.
Once the couple has paid or waived the fee, they file the original Complaint and Summons, and their case will be assigned a case number and placed in the public archives.
3. Serve the papers to the defendant.
The next step is to give copies of the divorce forms to the second spouse. An applicant may serve a respondent in four ways:
- By sheriff (the easiest service, costs $30);
- By certified mail (the defendant signs a special “green card” showing that the packet was delivered);
- By publication (the most expensive and time-consuming);
- Acceptance of service (if the defendant wants to cooperate).
4. Wait 30 days, then set a date for a hearing.
The defendant has thirty days to file an Answer. After they file this form, or if no Answer is filed after thirty days, the case can be scheduled for a hearing.
5. Go to the court with prepared Judgment for Judge's review.
If all forms are filled out correctly, the judge will begin the hearing. If not, they may dismiss the claim. The court may ask the spouses questions about marriage dissolution. After at least 30 days, the spouses will receive a final divorce order from the judge.