The Most Famous Divorces in North Carolina’s History

While North Carolina might not have the same “celebrity status” as California or New York, the Tar Heel State has seen some memorable divorces over the years. Some of these divorces have involved notable politicians and celebrities, while others represent important legal precedents. If you are approaching divorce in the Tar Heel State, it may help to examine how some of these divorces have been handled. There are many lessons we can learn from past divorces, and every good divorce attorney pays close attention to new developments in family law and important past precedents. So, what are the most famous divorces in North Carolina’s history?

Williams v. North Carolina

One divorce in North Carolina had a major effect on family law across the nation. This was Williams v. North Carolina back in 1942. The case stemmed from two individuals from North Carolina who traveled to Nevada in order to divorce their respective spouses before moving back to North Carolina and getting married. They ran into issues when the state of North Carolina charged them with “bigamous cohabitation.” This sparked a major legal conundrum. After being charged with the crime, they each presented their copies of the Nevada divorce decree and argued that their divorces were legal in both Nevada and North Carolina.

However, the North Carolina court refused to acknowledge the divorce, arguing that the couple specifically traveled to Nevada to take advantage of more accommodating divorce laws in the state. The Supreme Court of North Carolina eventually agreed, stating that the state was not required to acknowledge the divorce from Nevada. As a result, the couple was found guilty and sentenced to several years in prison.

Finally, the Supreme Court later ruled that the divorce from Nevada was indeed valid. This case led to all fifty states permitting the dissolution of marriage on at least one “no-fault” ground. It is worth mentioning that this situation would never occur today since divorce is far more acceptable in the modern era, and no court would force two individuals to remain married if they clearly wanted to end the relationship.

Celebrity Divorces in North Carolina

One of the few recent “celebrity divorces” in North Carolina involved Rep. Madison Cawthorn. The politician announced his divorce in 2021, claiming that his duties in Congress had interfered with his marriage, creating a new lifestyle that made the marriage untenable. The marriage had only been finalized earlier that year, at which point Cawthorn called it the “greatest honor” of his life. The couple asked for privacy and respect as they moved forward with their divorce.

Another celebrity divorce in North Carolina occurred when Sonya Curry and Dell Curry filed for divorce after 33 years. These individuals are the parents of NBA players Seth Curry and Steph Curry.

Another notable celebrity divorce in North Carolina involved NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France. According to one report, the CEO tried to have his divorce records sealed – presumably to protect his reputation. But a North Carolina court struck down this request – making it clear that France was attempting to escape an obligation to pay his ex-millions and $40,000 per month in alimony and child support.

North Carolina Heartbalm Torts Make Headlines Around the World

North Carolina is one of the few states that allows so-called “heartbalm torts.” This is when former spouses sue their ex’s lovers for damages. In 2019, one man was awarded $750,000 after a successful heart balm tort. The marriage of 12 years ended when the wife approached him and asked for marriage counseling, eventually arguing that separation was the only possibility. The man’s instincts led him to hire a private investigator, who uncovered an illicit affair.

Another heartbalm tort resulted in an $8.8 million award for a spouse in North Carolina back in 2018. This lawsuit was especially notable because the plaintiff actually claimed that his wife’s affair caused him to lose revenue and an employee. That employee was his wife, who worked for the family company.

Where Can I Find a Qualified Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

If you have been searching for a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Arnold Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous divorcing spouses in the Tar Heel State. Past examples of famous divorces in this state can provide useful lessons, but at a certain point, it is important to move forward. Book your consultation today, and we can help you develop a personalized action plan targeting your unique needs and considerations.