Martin v. Martin, No. 608

Docket NºNo. 608
Citation118 S.E.2d 29, 253 N.C. 704
Case DateJanuary 20, 1961
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina

Page 29

118 S.E.2d 29
253 N.C. 704
Raymond L. MARTIN
Beryl Helen MARTIN.
No. 608
Supreme Court of North Carolina.
Jan. 20, 1961

[253 N.C. 706] Butler, High & Baer, Fayetteville, for plaintiff.

Tally, Tally & Taylor, and Jesse M. Henley, Jr., Fayetteville, for defendant.

MOORE, Justice.

Plaintiff alleges that he 'has been a resident of Cumberland County, State of North Carolina, for more than six months next preceding the bringing of this action * * and has resided on the Fort Bragg Military Reservation in Cumberland County, North Carolina, for more than six months next preceding the commencement of this action.' Answering, defendant avers that 'plaintiff does not intend to make North Carolina his permanent home nor his home for an indefinite period of time and he is therefore not a resident of North Carolina.'

Jurisdiction in divorce actions is conferred by statute. The requirement that one of the parties to a divorce action shall have resided in the State for a specified period of time next preceding the commencement of the action is jurisdictional. If the element of residence is lacking the court has no jurisdiction to try the action or grant a divorce. Henderson v. Henderson, 232 N.C. 1, 9, 59 S.E.2d 227; Ellis v. Ellis, 190 N.C. 418, 421, 130 S.E. 7.

In an action for divorce 'The plaintiff shall set forth in his or her complaint that the complainant or defendant has been a resident of the State of North Carolina for at least six months next preceding the filing of the complaint * * *.' G.S. § 50-8.

This Court has declared that: 'In order to constitute residence as a jurisdictional fact to render a divorce decree valid under the laws of this State there must not only be physical presence at some place in the state but also the intention to make such locality a permanent abiding place. There must be both residence and animus manendi. Reynolds v. Lloyd Cotton Mills, 177 N.C. 412, 99 S.E. 240, 5 A.L.R. 284; Roanoke Rapids v. Patterson, 184 N.C. 135, 137, 113 S.E. 603; State v. Williams, 224 N.C. 183, 191, 29 S.E.2d 744. To establish a domicile there must be residence, and the intention to make it a home or to live there permanently or indefinitely. State v. Williams, supra.' Bryant v. Bryant, 1947, 228 N.C. 287, 289, 45 S.E.2d 572, 574.

The holding in the Bryant case is in accord with the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. In Williams v. State of North Carolina, 1945, 325 U.S. 226, 229, 65 S.Ct. 1092, 1095, 89 L.Ed. 1577, it is said: 'Under our system of law, judicial

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power to grant a divorce--jurisdiction, strictly speaking--is founded on domicil. Bell v. Bell, 181 U.S. 175, 21 S.Ct. 551, 45 L.Ed. 804; Andrews v. Andrews, 188 U.S. 14, 23 S.Ct. 237, 47 L.Ed. 366. The framers of the Constitution were familiar with this jurisdictional prerequisite, and since 1789 neither this Court nor any other court in the English-speaking world has questioned it. [253 N.C. 707] Domicil implies a nexus between persons and place of such permanence as to control the creation of legal relations and responsibilities of the utmost significance. The domicil of one spouse within a State gives power to that State, we have held, to dissolve a marriage wheresoever contracted.'

'In a strict legal sense that place is properly the domicil of a person where he has his true, fixed, permanent home and principal establishment, and to which he has, whenever he is absent, the intention of returning, and from which he has no present intention of moving.' 17A Am.Jur., Domicil, § 2, pp. 194-5.

In 1959 the General Assembly of North Carolina passed an Act which provides that in a divorce action 'allegation and proof that the plaintiff or the defendant has resided or been stationed at a United States army, navy, marine corps, coast guard or air force installation or reservation or any other location pursuant to military duty within this State for a period of six months next preceding the institution of the action shall constitute compliance with the residence requirements' for divorce, 'provided that personal service is had upon the defendant or service is accepted by the defendant, within or without the State as by law provided.' G.S. § 50-18.

Defendant contends that the residence requirement in G.S. § 50-18 involves domicile, and that the jurisdictional requisite that there be physical presence plus animus manendi has not been changed by this statute. With this contention we agree. Furthermore, we do not understand that plaintiff seriously contends otherwise.

The Legislative Assembly of the Virgin Islands adopted a statute providing that mere presence of plaintiff in the district for a period of six weeks shall be prima facie evidence of domicile and where the defendant has been personally served within the district or enters a general appearance the court shall have jurisdiction of the divorce action without further reference to domicile. The United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, in passing upon the validity of the statute, said in Alton v. Alton, 1953, 207 F.2d 667:


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  • Holland v. Islamic Republic of Iran, Civil Action No. 01-1924(CKK).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 31 Octubre 2005
    ...or to live there permanently or indefinitely." Hernandez v. Santiago, 140 F.Supp.2d 567, 570 (E.D.N.C.2001); see also Martin v. Martin, 253 N.C. 704, 707, 118 S.E.2d 29, 32 (1961); N.C.G.S.A. § 50-18. North Carolina's rule of domicile is implicitly consistent with the view of the Second Res......
  • Eudy v. Eudy, 124
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • 26 Junio 1975
    ...entered. G.S. § 50--10; Wicker v. Wicker, 255 N.C. 723, 122 S.E.2d 703; Israel v. Israel, 255 N.C. 391, 121 S.E.2d 713; Martin v. Martin, 253 N.C. 704, 118 S.E.2d 29; Pruett v. Pruett, Supra; Carpenter v. Carpenter, Supra; Ellis v. Ellis, 190 N.C. 418, 130 S.E. Where jurisdiction is statuto......
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    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • 23 Mayo 1962
    ...that court on 7 March 1961 was void for want of jurisdiction. Certainly, it is void according to the law in this State. Martin v. Martin, 253 N.C. 704, 118 S.E.2d While a void divorce decree cannot be legalized by act of the parties, Freeman on Judgments, 5th Ed., Vol. 3, 1925, section 1438......
  • Viernes v. District Court In and For Fourth Judicial Dist., El Paso County, 25670
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 23 Abril 1973 ours and have held that the statute actually requires domicile, even if the statute does not explicitly so state. In Martin v. Martin, 253 N.C. 704, 118 S.E.2d 29 (1961), the North Carolina supreme court had to interpret a statute which was substantially equivalent to our statute, except......
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