How to Get a Divorce in Johnston County Step by Step


To start the Johnston County divorce process, either spouse has to reside in the state for at least half a year before submitting documents to the court. Besides, spouses have to live separately and apart uninterruptedly for at least one year to be able to get an absolute divorce.

Steps for Filing a Divorce in Johnston County

If you reside in this county and want to initiate the divorce process, follow the steps described below.

File the Complaint

Prepare the necessary Johnston County divorce papers, including the complaint, and file them with the clerk’s office. Pay the filing fee, which is currently about $225, and keep copies of the filed documents; additional copies will be served on the other spouse.

Serve Your Spouse

You need to deliver copies of filed divorce papers to the other party. It can be done through certified mail with a return receipt, sheriff’s office, or a process server. Besides, you can ask a third party over 18 years old and unrelated to your divorce case to serve the papers.

Wait for the Answer

According to state law, a respondent has 30 days to provide an answer to the divorce petition. If they fail to respond within the given time, the court may grant a default judgment in favor of a petitioner. It means the divorce can be finalized based on the filing party’s claims without the respondent’s participation in the proceedings.

Complete the Discovery Period

Both parties must exchange information on their assets, debts, income, and expenses. The discovery process is necessary for a fair and equitable property division and evaluation of support if applicable.

Attend Court Hearings

Spouses have to appear in court for the final hearing, where the judge will listen to their arguments, review evidence, and make decisions regarding issues such as child custody, spousal support, and property division or incorporate the ones already made by spouses into a final decree.

Wait for the Divorce to Be Finalized

Once all matters are resolved, the divorce can be finalized. The court will issue a final judgment, and you will receive a divorce decree that officially ends your marriage.

Note that this is a general description of a divorce process. Every case is different and may involve more steps, or vice versa, be completed quicker. For instance, uncontested divorces may be finalized without spouses attending court hearings. They will just submit the needed package of documents and wait for the judge to sign a divorce decree.

Contested cases, on the contrary, take up more time and financial resources. Spouses may have to participate in mediation or negotiation sessions to resolve divorce-related issues. Besides, contested divorces are rarely possible without lawyer involvement. There may be several court hearings, and the divorce process will last longer.

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What Johnston County Papers Do I Need to File for Divorce

A standard Johnston County divorce packet includes such documents:

  • Complaint for Absolute Divorce
  • Civil Summons
  • Financial Affidavit
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Judgment of Absolute Divorce
  • Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet
  • Certificate of Service, etc.

The divorce kit is more extensive for cases when minor children are involved and should include:

  • Child Custody and Visitation Forms
  • Child Support Worksheets

The more complicated a divorce case is, the more forms spouses have to prepare. For instance, partners with shared property, assets, or debts must provide the court with additional forms specific to dividing marital property and addressing their financial obligations.

Where to File for Divorce in Johnston County

To file your divorce documents, you can go to any of the listed Johnston County divorce courts:

Court Name Court Address Working Hours Phone Number
Johnston County Courthouse 207 E Johnston St, Smithfield, NC 27577 Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (919) 209-5400
Johnston County Family Court 301 E Market St, Smithfield, NC 27577 Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (919) 209-5480
Johnston County Clerk of Court 207 E Johnston St, Smithfield, NC 27577 Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (919) 209-5400

Johnston County Divorce Lawyer vs. Online Divorce

One of the most complicated parts of any divorce is probably completing the paperwork. That’s why couples often try to delegate the task to reliable experts. It is common to hire lawyers to prepare the needed divorce forms, but today, many couples also look for alternative methods of document preparation due to several reasons:

  • First off, divorce lawyers’ costs can be extremely high. If couples need full-scope legal assistance, they may need to spend over $10,000 if they don’t have kids and approximately $19,000 if they have minor children. Divorce lawyers’ fees vary from $450 to $550 per hour.
  • Moreover, when you work with lawyers, you have to adjust to their schedules. The lack of flexibility may cause additional stress.

A present-day alternative is to address an online divorce service and get all the needed divorce papers within several business days. By ordering divorce forms from us, you will be able to narrow down divorce expenses to the court filing fee for divorce and a fixed payment for document preparation. Besides, you can receive a whole set of forms and detailed filing instructions promptly.

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