Legal Question in Family Law in North Carolina

Is a divorce legal if papers are served on an alias instead of a legal name? I thought I was divorced for last twenty years and an estate lawyer found there is no divorce registered in my legal name but there is under his last name which I never legally took. I had kept my maiden name during the marriage for all legal documents.


Asked on 12/21/13, 4:46 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amanda Houser The Houser Law Firm, P.C.

Depends! It sounds like he filed and served you under his last name instead of your maiden name. If this is the case, it may be that the divorce is legal under the concepts of ratification and / or estoppel. In other words all the parties involved intended and believed they were divorced and have conducted themselves that way for 20 years and it would be unjust to hold otherwise due to a 'typo'. However, your statement, 'I had kept my maiden name during the marriage for all legal documents.' concerns me - it implies you used your married name for things other than legal documents. This may also have an impact on things because you can not legally do this - you are required to consistently and non-fraudulently use one name only. Not one name for legal documents and another for other things. If you used names interchangeably you may have created a problem for yourself.

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Answered on 12/22/13, 6:47 pm


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