Divorce is a difficult process that absolutely no one wants to go through. Maybe that’s why not many people are opting for that route in Charlotte recently. In 2015, the last year that data is currently available for, there were 3,339 divorces in Mecklenburg County, according to the Charlotte Agenda. That number down from the year before with 4.454, and significantly lower than the record in 2005, which was 4,960. The amazing thing about these numbers is that the low divorce numbers are coming at a time when the population of Charlotte is booming, and marriages are increasing. According to the survey, there were 7,020 marriages in 2015, compared to 6,621 the year before.

This fact becomes even more interesting when you consider that in North Carolina, divorces should theoretically be easier to get than some other states. It has adopted “no-fault” divorce laws, which means that there doesn’t have to be a claim of wrongdoing to file for one. Divorces in the state can be easy, with forms to fill out online and proceedings that don’t have to involve an attorney.

However, despite the ability to file for divorce simply and quickly, it isn’t a good idea to go without a lawyer. When a couple divorces, and one or both choose not to have representation, the process can get messy. What was thought to be fair at the time of signing the agreement may turn out to seem unfair later on. Experienced divorce lawyers will spot these troublesome situations early on and make sure to nip them in the bud while protecting their client’s interests.

To file for divorce in Charlotte, you must meet several requirements under state law. For one, you must have been a resident of North Carolina for six months or more. Any less, and the state will not have jurisdiction. The couple must also have lived apart for at least a year and a day before a divorce can be processed. However, the couple can still go through the process of working out a separation agreement, including support and alimony, during this time. Lastly, only one spouse has to file the petition. The Mecklenburg County court clerk will accept the claim for processing.

A divorce in North Carolina can take quite some time to finalize. First, there is the year-long separation period, after which it is usually about 3 months before everything is official. Many couples in Charlotte also choose to “divorce with dignity”. This means that they agree they won’t go to court during their negotiations. Mediation and negotiating is guided by lawyers who specialize in family law. Information is voluntarily provided, and the proceedings are usually less combative than other divorce settlement processes.

Whether you choose to divorce with dignity, or you feel like you might have an exhausting and potentially bitter battle to come, you should strongly consider using a reputable divorce lawyer to help come to an agreement that’s fair to all parties.