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Divorce - General, Laws and Process
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Here are some questions that many divorcing couples in North Carolina often ask.
Nobody can tell the judge in a custody or visitation case what to do B not you, not your lawyer, and certainly not your child.
Help! My husband just left home last week and today he filed a motion to get a restraining order. He wants to stop me from spending any money in my business. Can a judge do that?
The judge is the person who grants a divorce, not your spouse. Once you have filed the divorce complaint at the courthouse, your attorney will serve a copy of the summons and complaint on your spouse, by sheriff or by certified mail.
According to the North Carolina General Statutes, a custody action may be initiated by any "parent, relative, or other person, agency, organization, or institution claiming the right to custody of a minor child."
Many people (including lawyers) misuse the term divorce. Divorce is used as a catch all term for everything from child custody to determining which party gets which assets and debts. In actuality, in North Carolina, divorce has a very narrow definition.

In North Carolina, any person over the age of eighteen (18) may adopt another person unless they are spouses of one another. A child may be placed for adoption either directly through the child’s parent or guardian or by an adoption agency.

Adoption is basically a statutory procedure. It includes the adoption of a child by a relative or other unrelated person, the adoption of a stepchild by a stepparent, the adoption of a child in a foreign country, or even the adoption of an adult.
A custody action may be maintained by a parent of a child, a person with a parent-child relationship with a child and a grandparent of a child who alleges parental misconduct.
Despite popular use of the term, Divorce is not the name for the process by which husbands and wives typically resolve all aspects of a marital dissolution, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and property distribution.
Avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with courts of other states in matters of child custody which have in the past resulted in the shifting of children from state to state with harmful effects on their well-being.
Divorce, as distinguished from child custody, child support, alimony and property distribution, is not a complex process in North Carolina. Either you or your spouse must live in the state for at least six months prior to filing the action for divorce.

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A woman, upon application to the clerk of court in North Carolina, may change her name to her maiden name, the surname of a prior deceased husband, or the surname of a prior living husband if she has children who have that husband's surname. A man whose marriage is dissolved by decree of absolute divorce may change the surname he took upon marriage to his pre-marriage surname.

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