When you file a divorce in North Carolinians’ court, you’re likely to be asked about your marital status, as well as whether you’re married to a person of the same sex.
But what if you have an unrelated legal name change?
That’s when a name change can be legally problematic, as you can be forced to share your name with someone else.
That’s what happened to a couple who filed a civil divorce in the state, after their legal name changed.
The name change led to an unwanted pregnancy and an attempted adoption, according to the couple’s attorneys.
On May 1, 2017, the couple filed for divorce, which is legal in North Dakota.
Their attorney, Chris Smith, told the Associated Press that the couple received a divorce notice that was “incomplete and confusing,” and a court clerk told the couple that they were being forced to file a civil petition.
But the marriage is not void and the divorce wasn’t finalized, according the AP.
When the couple learned about the divorce from an attorney, they called the North Dakota attorney general’s office to ask what was going on.
“We were told they were just trying to get a divorce, and that they’d get back to us in a couple days,” said the attorney, Matt Dukes, in a phone interview.
Smith said he was told that the divorce was being filed in North Dakotan court.
He also said the court clerk said that he was being forced into a “fraudulent process.”
In a statement to the AP, Smith said the couple asked him to file the divorce, after he asked for a name and address change.
It took nearly two months to get the court to issue the divorce papers, according and a subsequent court filing in North Idaho County, Idaho, where the couple lived, said Smith.
After the divorce petition was filed, the name change was added to the divorce record, but Smith said it wasn’t until after the hearing that he realized what was happening.
Dukes said that his client, who was divorced in 2011, asked to change their legal names, and was told to file for a second marriage certificate, which he did.
In the North Dakotean divorce case, the attorney general says that the case was filed because “it was clearly obvious to the parties that the parties were not married, and there was no other way to proceed with the divorce.”
Smith told the AP that the marriage was invalid because of a “defective signature,” a sign of illegality.
Although it wasn�t clear whether the couple had received a “good faith” marriage certificate from the North Idaho clerk, the North Carolina law states that marriage cannot be dissolved without the consent of the parties, according an article on the North Texas Law Center.
For more legal news, check out the Law Center website.