Raleigh, NC asked in Divorce for North Carolina

Q: In an uncontested divorce case, where defendant filed no answer, is it unusual not to have a hearing after 3 months?

The waiting period in my divorce case expired nearly 3 months ago. I am the defendant. How long can plaintiff wait before scheduling a hearing?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Amanda Bowden Johnson
Amanda Bowden Johnson pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Jacksonville, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: That is the classic way for a party who doesn't want a divorce or has some interest in the divorce not going through (for example keeping some sort of marital benefit in place) to delay the divorce as long as possible - be the first to file and then simply never calendar the case for disposition. You as the Defendant, can not file your own action for divorce nor calendar the case yourself. However, at some point, you can move to have the case dismissed, so that you can file yourself. If the Plaintiff is purposefully attempting to delay the divorce, the Plaintiff's tactic will likely then switch to avoiding being served by you. A crafty spouse who knows what they are doing can delay a divorce for quite some time and make things expensive for you should they be inclined to do so.

James Williams Hart
James Williams Hart
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: I slightly disagree with Amanda. Whether or not you can calendar the case will depend on the rules in your county. You can file an answer agreeing with all the allegations and then file either your own motion for summary summary judgment (which you could calendar since it's your motion) or you file a notice of hearing. The rules in other counties may vary. If you are unable to calendar his case for hearing, then you should file an answer and counterclaim for absolute divorce - this way you just need to mail him a copy of your counterclaim rather than having him served via certified mail or process server.

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