Archive for January 27th, 2014

Wanna Try Bigamy?

These are meanderings where I put things that may be of little use to our cause but that fascinate me.

It has been over half a century since I instructed Political Science classes — yes, I started when I was 19 — so my case law is not up to date.

But back then it was perfectly legal for a man to have two legally wedded wives, and vice versa, both marriages officially recognized by the United States Government. A Supreme Court in the 1940s declared that North Carolina was under no obligation to recognize the quick and easy Nevada divorces, so a person who was legally divorced in Nevada and in all the states that recognized Nevada divorces was still legally married in states that sided with North Carolina divorcees.

In the east some of the states that took a North Carolina view were actually right in between states that recognized Nevada divorces. Only a handful of lawyers would knew which way their particular state law went.

The result was some pretty interesting legal and detective work, as well as adventure trying to catch a divorcee down in the right state at the right time to get the spouse’s rights.

As I say, this situation lasted for decades and may have been cleared up now that the Bible Belt is not quite so rigid on divorce.

South Carolina was the last state to allow divorce under ANY circumstances. SC’s first divorce law was passed in 1948.

Stuff like this fascinates me, so I ought to have a place to write it down even if it bores you.