Dear James McPeak:
Greetings. 25 years … that is a long time to be married and not request a divorce. Nevertheless, my advice is that you file for divorce here in North Carolina and serve her by publication (after trying to serve her by certified mail and searching for her over the internet). Service by publication usually costs about $500.00. If you retain an attorney, which I advise that you do, you can also assume about $1,000.00 in attorney fees, maybe more if you hire an attorney that bills hourly. Finally, you would also have to pay filing fees of $90.00.
If you decide that you want to retain an attorney, any attorney in the state can help you file for divorce, so hire someone that you trust. If you don’t want to commit bigamy (which by the way is a crime in North Carolina) the surest way to ensure you are divorced, is to file for it yourself prior to the marriage. Better safe than sorry! Let us know if we can help.
Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.