In North Carolina, the length of time a divorce takes depends greatly from county to county. After the defendant (the spouse who did not start the proceedings) is “served” (determined to have been given legal notice of the divorce), the spouse has at least 30 days to respond. This date is either the day that the defendant, the person who did not initiate the divorce, is personally delivered papers in a legally authorized manner; for example, the papers may be delivered by a sheriff or by certified mail. Or, it may be the date that the defendant files a “voluntary appearance” notice, acknowledging that he or she knows the divorce has been filed with the court. Your spouse can delay the proceedings by asking for an additional thirty days to answer your divorce allegations. After the time to answer the allegations has passed, you can have a hearing 13 days after you provide notice of the hearing to your spouse. So, without your spouse trying to delay the process, it will take at least one and one-half months to get your divorce. A better estimate would be three to four months to get your divorce.
Do not forget that there are other issues, such as custody, support, property, and debts, that may need to be resolved. These other issues can be resolved before or after the divorce, so long as you file for these claims prior to the entry of the divorce.