Ok, this isnt a very complicated question but Im going to explain in vivid detail just so time isnt wasted going back and forth bc the information needed to give an adequate answer has to be extracted bit by bit from the one asking by the one who is answering.
First off, it blew me away that the people at the clerk of court’s office would not answer my simple questions that never asked for advice, only for facts about procedure. But anyway, heres my situation… Me and my wife are in complete agreement about this divorce. We have been seperated (living apart) close to 2 years now, have already settled all property related matters, we are in agreement on joint custody of our one and only 5 year old daughter, we get along well, neither one of us wants to screw the other person over or get anything out of the other. We BOTH just want this to finally be made final/official & on paper.
Given these facts I felt it a little ridiculous for either one of us to have to pay a lawyer to accomplish this so I downloaded all the required forms (a DIY Divorce Kit) from a trusted NC law firm’s website, filed them with the clerk of court and payed their fees. NOW, I am confused as to how I get a court date. I have copies of the filed papers with what looks like a docket # stamped on top of each sheet. When I asked the lady who filed and stamped them how I know when my court date is, she only said I would have to handle that at the ‘blue’ counter and pointed me to a blue counter across the office. The woman at the blue counter was a little more ‘hintful’ (not ‘helpful’). She gave me a sheet of paper that has ‘Calendar Notice / Civil Court’ at the top. Im assuming this is a calendar request form/letter as it starts off like this:
‘Dear Madam: It is respectfully requested that the following case be placed upon the civil court calendar for the ____________________ term of the District Court.’
When she gave it to me she filled in the blank with an upcoming date and said thats the earliest available. Further description of this document (just in case): Under this short sentence she filled the date into, there is a table with these fields/column headers : Plaintiff Attorney, Docket Number, Name of Case, Defendant Attorney. Under the column headers there is only one row of blank empty cells where the values for each item is to be filled in (btw - how do I know the ‘name of case’ and do I just put representing self for plaintiff and defendant attorney or do I leave it blank?) Next, moving down the document, there are 3 options for what seems to be type of divorce: uncontested (that would be us), motion and ‘for trial’. Each check box has 2 additional check boxes beside it for jury or non-jury. Below that is another sentence with a blank that needs to be filled in with how long (in minutes/hours) that I estimate the case will take to try. Then there is a single line that reads: ‘Special Request Concerning case and Cature of Action’ followed beneath it by a sentence stating that I affirm the case is ready for trial all except the following things that opposing counsel needs to complete which is the blank I would fill in. Last on the paper there is a place for a signature with two check boxes underneath; one is ‘Attorrney for Plaintiff’ the other, ‘Defendant’. Then at the bottom left the words ‘copy to:’ and a little bit of extra white space.
After she handed me this paper and filled in the date, the only thing she hinted to me was that once my wife had been served, to bring it back to her. I tried to ask her the same questions I’m about to ask here but she would only say ‘I cannot answer that’. Other than if I am supposed to at all or how I am suppose to fill out the document described above, I am confused about the following things…
- When I filed all of the forms and papers, one of these forms was entitled ‘Civil Summons’. I filled it out & made copies per the kit’s instructions. This is definitely the biggest thing that I’m confused about, the whole ‘being served’ concept. My wife is fully willing and ready to get this divorce completed just as I am. Does she still HAVE to be ‘served’? Can I not just get a court date and tell here when it is? If I can do that instead, then how and what if anything do I need to sign or make her sign? If its absolutely neccessary that she is ‘served’, then do I HAVE to use a sheriff or certified mail or etc.??? Can I not just do it myself somehow? If I can then is there anything special I need to know or do or sign or etc…? Like I said before, she is willing. I don’t need a sheriff to go tell her she needs to be in court when she is already very ready to go to court for this. If a Sheriff or certified mail or whatever other accepted method of ‘serving’ my wife MUST be implemented, then rather than having to pay for and wait however long on a sheriff to get it done, could she/we just go to the Sheriff’s office and have them do it right there? I write software for police & misc. public safety agencys and work really closely with our local sheriff department so if this is an option it would be hassle free and more than likely much quicker for me.
2.The previous item of confusion leads right into this one… Was I supposed to have taken care of the above (having her ‘served’) before filing? I ask this because of the civil summons form I filed that looked like it needed to be completed by the sheriff who served her (but if I used cert. mail, how would it be filled out by a sheriff? ). Is this document required or does it even need to be completed? I filled it out like the divorce kit instructed and like the included examples were filled out, but it never said anything about how it is completed and or really used…
- There is also another form I filed which is the only one I did not fill out because like the ‘judgement’ form, I assumed I didnt need to, that it wasn’t for me to fill out. This is the ‘Notice of Hearing’ document. I didnt fill it out because the DIY kit never told me anything about filling it out, only including it in my filing packet, and more so because it required me to fill in my court date which obviously I did not (and still do not) know or have. My assumption was, if the kit isnt telling me to fill it out and I do not have a court date yet bc I havent even filed yet, I guess I dont need to fill it out. Once I figure this all out and get a court date should I fill this form out, take it back to the lady I filed everything with and get her to file it and/or replace the blank one already on file with this completed one? Would this even be allowed, can you go back and replace a document once youve already filed it due to a mistake or some other reason? Of course the big question here is how do I obtain my court date so that I CAN fill it out??? because thats what this document requires me to write on it, the court date.
I am going to stop there because Iv’e noticed that Iv’e written much more than I planned on writing for what seems to me would be (should be) pretty simple and not so confusing and complicated. I really appreciate any help you can provide me with. I apologize for the lengthiness of this post. I just tried to be as detailed as possible so you are adequately equipped to help me. Hopefully Iv’e given you enough for my confusion and/or whatever I am doing wrong to be very clear and for a solution to be very obvious. If you need anything else, just let me know. I really wanted to take care of this before the week is over so I will be refreshing this thread CONSTANTLY and can PROMPTLY fill in any missing pieces that you may need to adequately provide me with some practical guidance and direction.
I am not expecting every little question I asked to be answered and everything Iv’e made it known I am confused about to be explained. All I want to know is what else do I need to do to finish this. I was hoping that since me and my wife are not contesting anything, have already settled the few issues we had concerning property/our daughter, and both just want to have our marriage legally terminated that this wouldn’t be that difficult but I was very wrong. I get the feeling that its really not that difficult, the checklist and sequence of required events are just not common knowledge and unfortunately the courts are anything but helpful in providing the SIMPLE and FACTUAL information that non-lawyers would have to know about the process in order to obtain a divorce. Now I am hoping that its not as difficult as I am making it out to be and you can effortlessly tell me what to do to get this thing finished.
In advance, I am very thankful for whoever can help me out with this and I hope you have a blessed day…