Divorce wish after 10 years of separation/restraining order

Here is the background of my case that I would like to get some insight on what the next step to make:

I had an order of protection in March 2006 against my husband while living in NYC which was where we were married in December 2002. It was a family court case then raised to be a criminal case as he broke the restraining order by trying to break into the house right after he got bailed by his mom. I also had a temporary restraining order for my son against his father that time.
My son was about 2.5 years old at the time of separation and since then I’ve been raising him alone. His father moved to WI to live with his mom but had visited once an year in average to see his son until the phone message I received one night in early 2011 from him, saying he would not want to contact us or to be contacted by us.

It will have been 10 years since we lived separately in March this year. We never had any custody ironed out, nor a divorce. I never filed for the child support as did not want to have to face the fume from my husband. But then, for a strange reason, last December, I received a text from my husband stating his wish to finalize our marriage and wish to see our son. He is still very aggressive but agreed to a divorce.

A friend of mine told me about the absolute divorce option in NC so I have done my research on that little bit… We moved to NC in July last year, 2015 so it’s been about 7 months since we became NC residents.

Here are my questions:
1. Absolute divorce and Custody - Can I file an absolute divorce first then iron out the child custody later?
2. Custody - I would like a sole custody. Is it possible to get in NC? What do I need to prepare to achieve this?
3. Visitation & name change for my son - Although my son’s father strongly wants to contact my son, my son, who’s 12 years old now, strongly wishes NOT to be contacted and wants his last name changed. He seldomly puts his last name on his paper which has often caused him a trouble. In this case, is it possible not to allow any visitation to his father and have his last name changed along with the divorce?
4. Alimony - I make more money than he does —although not much. He never had a stable income as he was a musician/bike messenger. We have no assets together but I believe he has a lot of unpaid medical bills and student loan. Does this mean I need to pay him alimony or be responsible for this debt?
5. Child support- Although this could help, I am willing to drop this if that helps the divorce process go easier and less painful. Can I file a divorce without it?

  1. Do you think I can complete my divorce case using your DIY divorce kit?

I truly appreciate your time and guidance in advance.

  1. Yes, filing for absolute divorce or obtaining your absolute divorce complaint will have no bearing on custody.
  2. Yes, it is possible to be granted sole legal custody. If your husband refuses to agree to allow you to have sole custody, you’ll need to file a lawsuit for custody and provide evidence as to why you having sole custody will be in your son’s best interest.
  3. Your son can’t have his name changed through your divorce. If he wishes to have his name changed through the vital records office.
  4. The fact that you make slightly more than him doesn’t automatically mean you will owe him alimony. He’d have to file a lawsuit for alimony in order to get you to pay if you refuse otherwise. The debt question relates to your property division claim. In North Carolina, marital debt is debt acquired during the marriage (not after date of separation)
  5. Yes you can file for divorce without seeking child support. You always have the ability to sue for child support after you divorce.
  6. Our DIY Divorce eBook is a great resource for you to use to file your own divorce.