In order to be as accurate as possible, I’ve made this guide specific to simple divorces being filed in Wake County, North Carolina. Your divorce may be more complicated than this guide covers if:
- either spouse is in the military
- you need to put a separation agreement into a court order
- you need to divide a retirement account
- there are any disputes about assets or other divorce terms
This guide is not intended to recommend filing for divorce on your own. Having King @ Law handle your filings only costs $500 compared to $225 in court filing fees when doing it yourself. Meanwhile, there’s a lot of time, frustration, and risk involved in doing it yourself (and potentially doing it wrong). However, if you’re a DIY diehard, read on.
Step 1: Complete FilingsThe first step is to put together a packet of documents you will file with the court. This packet will include:
- A Cover Sheet: Indicate that you are filing a complaint for divorce.
- A Complaint: You can find examples on page 5 here or page 11 here.
- A Verification: You can find an example at the bottom of page 12 here.
- A Summons: You only need to fill out the top of the first page.
- A Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Affidavit: This form is where you promise that your spouse is not in the military.
- SCRA evidence: You’ll need to create an account here to get a “Status Report” proving that your spouse is not in the military.
Finally, add a self-addressed, stamped envelope, so the court can file one copy and mail two copies back to you. Put all of that in a large manilla envelope and mail it to the Wake County District Court at: 316 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC 27601.
Step 2: Service of ProcessThe court will stamp and sign all three copies of the documents you submitted. They will keep one copy for their own files, and send two back to you. These two copies are for you and your spouse respectively. You can hand a copy to your spouse and have them sign a waiver acknowledging they received it, or you can serve your spouse via certified mail or sheriff.
You can find a waiver example here on page 13. Once your spouse signs it in front of a notary, send the waiver to the court with a cover letter explaining what it is and the case number it goes with. Then wait 30 days.
Step 3: Filing for defaultIn Wake, getting a summary judgement for divorce requires appearing in front of a judge in the courthouse downtown. That’s an inconvenience you can skip in simple divorces, where you can get divorced by default by a clerk. To ask a clerk to complete the divorce, you need three copies of the following documents:
- A Motion Cover Sheet: The type of motion is default judgement (DEFJ)
- A Motion for Default: I’ll add an example soon.
- A Judgement: This is the order you’re asking the court to sign.
- A Divorce Certificate: This will be used as evidence of the divorce in the future.
- Other documents: Most people also re-attach the SCRA documents and the waiver of service of process as evidence of meeting the requirements for default divorce by the clerk.