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Legal Information: North Carolina


December 22, 2023

What are the reasons (grounds) for divorce in North Carolina?

The reason for a divorce is called the ground for divorce. To receive a divorce in North Carolina, which the state refers to as an “absolute divorce,” there’s no need to prove that either spouse is at fault to get the divorce. This is why North Carolina is known as a “no-fault state.”

There are only two grounds for divorce in North Carolina:

  • separation for one year;1 or
  • incurable insanity of one spouse and living separate and apart for three consecutive years, including at the time where the petition is filed.2

In order to get divorced under the one-year separation ground, you must have lived “separate and apart” for one year and at least one spouse must have had the intention to remain separate and apart. You do not need to file for “legal separation” in order to begin the one-year period.

1 N.C.G.S. § 50-6
2 N.C.G.S. § 50-5.1