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. For this reason, researchers may also wish to request a search of Superior Court Minutes. 

Descriptions of original divorce records held by the State Archives are summarized in the online MARS catalog. For a summary of original divorce records and microfilm held by the the State Archives of North Carolina, please see the Guide to County Records. Lists of divorce records also exist for select counties.

Divorce records may also be available on third party websites. The State Archives provides links to many of these collections in its Digital Collection.