GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SENATE DRS15179-LU-104 (03/13)
Short Title: Healthy Marriage Act.
Senator Allran (Primary Sponsor).
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT amending the laws pertaining to divorce to establish a two-year waiting period to file for an absolute divorce; to allow a couple to live together during the two-year waiting period; and to require under certain circumstances that prior to filing for an absolute divorce a couple complete courses on communication and the impact of divorce on children.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. G.S. 50-6 reads as rewritten:
separation of one yeartwo-year waiting period on
application of either party.
Marriages may be dissolved and the parties thereto divorced from the bonds of
matrimony on the application of either
party, if and when the party
upon satisfying the following requirements before filing for divorce under this
(1) The husband
and wife have
lived separate and apart for one year,and themet a two-year
waiting period. The spouse seeking the divorce shall give a written notice of
intent to file for divorce to the other spouse at the beginning of the two-year
waiting period. The notice of intent shall be properly acknowledged in
accordance with Chapter 10B of the General Statutes. During the two-year
waiting period, there is no requirement that the husband and wife live separate
(2) During the two-year waiting period, the husband and wife have each completed courses on (i) improving communication skills and (ii) conflict resolution. Courses required by this subdivision do not have to be completed together as a couple.
(3) If a couple has a child, the husband and wife have each completed a course of at least four hours on the impact of divorce on children.
satisfying the requirements under subsection (a) of this section, a husband and
wife may proceed with an action for divorce by submitting to the court evidence
that (i) the requirements of subsection (a) of this section have been satisfied
and (ii) the plaintiff or defendant in the suit for divorce has resided in
the State for a period of six
months.months prior to filing for
divorce. A divorce under this section shall not be barred to either party
by any defense or plea based upon any provision of G.S. 50-7, a plea of
res judicata, or a plea of recrimination. Notwithstanding the provisions of
G.S. 50-11, or of the common law, a divorce under this section shall not
affect the rights of a dependent spouse with respect to alimony which have been
asserted in the action or any other pending action. Whether there has been a resumption of marital relations
during the period of separation shall be determined pursuant to G.S. 52-10.2.
Isolated incidents of sexual intercourse between the parties shall not toll the
statutory period required for divorce predicated on separation of one year."
SECTION 2. G.S. 50-8 reads as rewritten:
In all actions for divorce the complaint shall be verified in
accordance with the provisions of Rule 11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and
G.S. 1-148. The plaintiff shall set forth in his or her complaint that the
complainant or defendant has been a resident of the State of North Carolina for
at least six months next preceding the filing of the complaint, and that the
facts set forth therein as grounds for divorce, except in actions for divorce
from bed and board, have existed to his or her knowledge for at least six
months prior to the filing of the complaint: Provided, however, that if the
cause for divorce is
one-year separation,after a two-year waiting
period, then it shall not be necessary to allege in the complaint that the
grounds for divorce have existed for at least six months prior to the filing of
the complaint; it being the purpose of this proviso to permit a divorce after such
separation of one yearthe two-year waiting period without awaiting
an additional six months for filing the complaint: Provided, further, that if
the complainant is a nonresident of the State action shall be brought in the
county of the defendant's residence, and summons served upon the defendant
personally or service of summons accepted by the defendant personally in the
manner provided in G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4(j)(1). Notwithstanding any other
provision of this section, any suit or action for divorce heretofore instituted
by a nonresident of this State in which the defendant was personally served
with summons or in which the defendant personally accepted service of the
summons and the case was tried and final judgment entered in a court of this
State in a county other than the county of the defendant's residence, is hereby
validated and declared to be legal and proper, the same as if the suit or
action for divorce had been brought in the county of the defendant's residence.
In all divorce actions the complaint shall set forth the name and age of any minor child or children of the marriage, and in the event there are no minor children of the marriage, the complaint shall so state. In addition, when there are minor children of the marriage, the complaint shall state the social security number of the plaintiff and, if known, the social security number of the defendant.
In all prior suits and actions for divorce heretofore instituted and tried in the courts of this State where the averments of fact required to be contained in the affidavit heretofore required by this section are or have been alleged and set forth in the complaint in said suits or actions and said complaints have been duly verified as required by Rule 11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, said allegations so contained in said complaints shall be deemed to be, and are hereby made, a substantial compliance as to the allegations heretofore required by this section to be set forth in any affidavit; and all such suits or actions for divorce, as well as the judgments or decrees issued and entered as a result thereof, are hereby validated and declared to be legal and proper judgments and decrees of divorce.
In all suits and actions for divorce heretofore instituted and tried in this State on and subsequent to the 5th day of April, 1951, wherein the statements, averments, or allegations in the verification to the complaint in said suits or actions are not in accordance with the provisions of Rule 11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and G.S. 1-148 or the requirements of this section as to verification of complaint or the allegations, statements or averments in the verification contain the language that the facts set forth in the complaint are true "to the best of affiant's knowledge and belief" instead of the language "that the same is true to his (or her) own knowledge" or similar variation in language, said allegations, statements and averments in said verifications as contained in or attached to said complaint shall be deemed to be, and are hereby made, a substantial compliance as to the allegations, averments or statements required by this section to be set forth in any such verifications; and all such suits or actions for divorce, as well as the judgments or decrees issued and entered as a result thereof, are hereby validated and declared to be legal and proper judgments and decrees of divorce. The judgment of divorce shall include, where there are minor children of the parties, the social security numbers of the parties."
SECTION 3. G.S. 52-10.2 is repealed.
SECTION 4. The Administrative Office of the Courts may adopt any rules deemed necessary to implement the provisions of this act.
SECTION 5. This act is effective when it becomes law and applies to actions for divorce filed on or after that date.