Divorce Records, 1778-1966


Beginning with the American Revolution, the power to dissolve a marriage in North Carolina rested in the General Assembly until 1835. For divorces that occurred prior to 1835, the State Archives reference staff will consult an index to divorce records filed in the General Assembly Session Records. Researchers may also want to examine the published House and Senate Journals and Session Laws at http://ncgovdocs.org/.

County divorce records searched contain materials pulled from Civil Action Papers. From 1814 to 1835, the judges of the Superior Court held concurrent jurisdiction with the legislature in matters of divorce. Since 1835, the Superior Courts have held jurisdiction in these cases. If loose divorce records are not found, then State Archives reference staff will search the Superior Court Minutes.

Descriptions of original divorce records held by the State Archives are summarized in the catalog. Lists of divorce records also exist for select counties.

Knowing the county is essential to locating a divorce, but the State Archives has no statewide index. Ancestry.com, which is available through the State Library, has a statewide index to divorces after 1954.