Williams V. North Carolina Case Study

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Williams vs. North Carolina (1942)

The Williams v. North Carolina case is a Supreme Court case in which the court decided that the federal government determines divorce and marriage statuses between state lines. It casted doubt over the validity of thousands of interstate divorces. Mr. Williams and Ms. Hendrix, who were both married, moved to Nevada for six weeks to become citizens of the state, and filed for divorce from their spouses. Their spouses, Carrie Wyke and Thomas Hendrix, were unaware that the divorces were being filed. Once the divorces were final, Mr. Williams and Ms. Hendrix married and then moved back to North Carolina. They lived there together until they were charged by the state of North Carolina for bigamous cohabitation.
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Although the state disregarded the Full Faith and Credit clause, the court upheld the argument because the couple had not established bona fide residence in Nevada. To become a legal, bona fide resident of a State, one must reside there for the state’s required amount of time and have the intentions of residing there permanently or at the least, indefinitely. Williams and Hendrix clearly did not intend to do so. As a result, the two were convicted of bigamous cohabitation.

The defendants, Williams and Hendrix, were prosecuted for bigamous cohabitation by the state of North Carolina. The defence pleaded not guilty and offered copies of their Nevada divorce decrees. They argued that the marriage and divorce were legal in not only Nevada, but North Carolina as well. Because the plaintiff failed to bring up the Full Faith and Credit clause, Williams and Hendrix were not considered guilty by the court. It wasn’t until a retrial a few months later that the Full Faith and Credit clause was mentioned and the two were found guilty of
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