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Common Law Marriage Appeal Dismissed as Interlocutory

Divorce.jpgThe North Carolina Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal as interlocutory. The case involved a man and a woman who had lived together in Texas before moving to North Carolina. The parties moved to North Carolina, separated and the woman filed against the man for absolute divorce, post separation support, alimony and equitable distribution. She alleged that, under Texas law, the parties were common law man and wife. Of course, North Carolina does not recognize common law marriage.
The man answered and denied that the parties were married. He also raised counter claims based upon property rights, but did not raise any Chapter 50 counterclaims. The trial court determined that the parties were not married because, under Texas law, the parties were required to have a present intention to be man and wife. Apparently, the fact that they were separated and suing one another was convincing to the trial court.

The woman appealed the trial court’s ruling that the parties were not common law married. Although neither party argued that the appeal was interlocutory, the North Carolina Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal as interlocutory on its own motion. The North Carolina Court of Appeals found that the appeal was interlocutory because the ruling by the court that the parties were not married left the man’s counterclaims for summary eviction, conversion and claim and delivery unresolved.

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