NC Divorce Laws in 1966


#1

Would it have been possible in 1964-66 for a wife to have checked herself into a mental institution so that the husband would have been unable to divorce her?Thank you.


#2

Interesting question. I doubt it. Given that in many states in that era, women had few rights. (e.g. when my parents divorced in VA in the 70s, my mother could not dispose of her share of the marital property herself. My grandfather and uncle were the only ones allowed to sell or transfer land.) If anything, I would think that it would’ve been the opposite. Insanity would be grounds for a divorce.

Don’t know if it would help, but you might want to look at this, especially the dates at the bottom: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_50/GS_50-5.1.html


#3

Actually, it would make it easier to get a divorce in 1966 if the spouse was in a mental institution. That would provide grounds for a fault-based divorce. Mental illness could be shown several ways, including:

(1) Confinement for incurable insanity for three years;
(2) incurable mental illness based on examination for three years.


#4

Thanks very much; unfortunately your responses don’t help my case : ) I am a genealogist and my current client’s family has had a story floating around that a wife checked herself into Butner every so often in order to prevent her husband from divorcing her. The story just didn’t seem just right; hence, my post. The family needs to revisit this family history mystery and come up with other ideas. I don’t believe any doctor would have diagnosed her as being incurable; she lived only a year or two at Butner before being released. Butner has stuck to their story that her records have been destroyed altho a daughter has both her own birth certificate and her mother’s birth certificate proving their relationship. And there is always the chance that the records have been destroyed; it has been a long time, but they sure would be helpful in the treatment of the this particular daughter’s mental health. More than you needed to know : )
Thank you very, very much.


#5

You are very welcome! I wish you luck in your search for the truth about this family.