A couple from New Castle, New Hampshire recently learned from the New Hampshire Supreme Court that their prior Divorce is indeed final. The couple had been married 24 years when they divorced in 2014. Following their divorce, the couple reconciled and asked the New Hampshire Court to vacate the 2014 Divorce.
In a unanimous decision on December 2nd, the New Hampshire Supreme Court found that while New Hampshire Courts clearly have the authority to grant Divorces, they do not the counter-side authority to undo a Divorce. According to an article by the Associated Press, “New Hampshire does allow for divorces to be set aside for reasons of fraud, accident, mistake or misfortune.” Absent one of the circumstances set forth in New Hampshire statute, the New Hampshire Supreme Court found that it and lower Courts were powerless to vacate the Divorce.
In North Carolina, Judgments of Divorce are final. However, there are certain situations in which Judgments of Divorce may be set aside. North Carolina General Statute § 50-11, for example, outlines certain jurisdictional situations in which the effect of a Divorce may be obviated if steps are taken within a specified timeframe. Further, Rule 60 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure provides litigants the ability to seek relief from Judgments or Orders in certain circumstances such as fraud or mistake. Notably, these forms of statutory relief appear similar to the exemptions available in New Hampshire. As such, it is likely that a subsequent reconciliation or “changing of the minds” after the entry of a Divorce Judgment in North Carolina would not be an applicable scenario for the North Carolina Courts to overturn and vacate the Divorce Judgment.
To speak with someone today about filing for Divorce or questions you have about a Judgment of Divorce that has already been entered, please call us at (704) 810-1400 to schedule a consultation.