Options for Divorce in North Carolina

Types of Divorce in North Carolina

greenville nc divorce attorneyThe attorneys at Irons & Irons understand that divorce isn’t an easy decision to make. When you do finally decide that it’s the best route for you and your family it’s important that you follow the divorce route that works best for everyone. Luckily, you have a variety of options for your divorce in North Carolina and each comes with its own set of requirements and benefits.

In North Carolina, the divorce process can vary greatly based on the type of divorce you and your spouse choose. The following types of divorce are generally your choices and they’re listed from most taxing (emotionally and/or financially) to least.

Contested Divorce

In a contested divorce, the decisions of the divorce settlement are left to the decision of a judge. In this situation, the spouses are unable or unwilling to come to a decision together on a settlement and other details like child custody, child support, spousal supportproperty distribution, marital assets, therefore you have to go through a process of negotiations, usually between you and your lawyer and your spouse and their lawyer. There may be a series of hearings before ultimately ending in a court trial. This type of divorce is generally the least amiable and may take the longest.


In an arbitration, you and your spouse will agree to hire another party, called an arbitrator, to make the same decisions that a judge would and you both agree to abide by the decisions made by that arbitrator. While this is preferable to a contested divorce, it can still take a long time and multiple meetings in order to complete the decision-making process. It is also of the utmost importance that you have a lawyer available to help you and to make sure you are getting fair and equal treatment. While arbitration is more agreeable than contested divorce, it is still very stressful emotionally and can still pose a financial burden on those participating.

Mediated Divorce

In a mediated divorce a neutral third party, also knows as a mediator, will step in in hopes of helping you and your spouse resolve any issues surrounding the divorce in hopes of coming to a fair settlement in the fastest and most affable way. While, in general, you’ll still need your lawyer to help you go over mediation results and draft an initial settlement agreement as well, a mediated divorce is less emotionally taxing for both parties and may result in less financial stress as long as both parties are willing to be cordial and cooperative.

No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce in one where blame isn’t placed on either spouse, instead the cause of the divorce is labeled as “irreconcilable differences” or a failure of the relationship that is impossible to right or come back from. While this type of divorce starts out as more cooperative than those previously mentioned, it can become difficult emotionally and financially as time goes on thanks to contention on the settlement agreement and factors like child custody, child support, division of marital property, and spousal support. In this type of divorce, your lawyer can provide you with the support and direction necessary to settle in as little time as possible with the best outcome.

Default Divorce

In a default divorce, the portion of the divorce that the most taxing is generally passed as you’ve given your spouse the divorce papers and tried to locate your spouse in order to do so. In this type of divorce, you are granted a divorce based on the fact that your spouse does not respond to any correspondence or court proceedings. Usually, you are granted a divorce by default if your spouse can’t be found, is incapacitated, or simply refuses to respond. Your lawyer will be able to help get the process moving, as the time it takes to declare divorce by default is determined by the judges individually.

Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse cooperate in coming to a settlement and work together in the terms of your divorce. There may be no formal trial, and if the proceedings move along amiably you may never have to appear in court. While this is one of the least stressful and financially taxing types of divorce, it is still important to have your lawyer advocate for you every step of the way in order to ensure that you are coming to a fair compromise.

Collaborative Divorce

Finally, in a collaborative divorce you and your spouse have agreed together to a cooperative and amicable divorce. Then, you will each hire separate lawyers trained to handle collaborative divorce specifically. The lawyers, while keeping your best interests in mind, will work together to give you both the best and most fair settlement possible. Both you and your spouse will provide any and all information necessary to help the process run smoothly, and you will meet all together to discuss your settlement agreement. In the end, you will also agree that if the divorce does not settle through collaboration, you will hire new attorneys to take your divorce to trial. This type of divorce tends to be the easiest and fastest way of coming to an agreement without contention as both parties agreed to participate in a non-confrontational manner.

Helping You Determine Your Divorce Solution

At Irons & Irons P.A. we understand the pros and cons of each type of divorce and are available to help you decide which path to divorce is the best solution for you. To schedule an initial consultation, call family law attorney Gib Irons at 252-215-3000 or fill out our contact form below.

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