Article 5.

Registration of Official Discharges from the Armed Forces of the United States.

47-109. Book for record of discharges in office of register of deeds; specifications.

There shall be provided, and at all times maintained, in the office of the register of deeds of each county in North Carolina a special and permanent book, in which shall be recorded official discharges from the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps and other branches of the Armed Forces of the United States. The book shall be securely bound, and the pages of the book shall be printed in the form of discharge papers, with sufficient blank lines for the recording of such dates as may be contained in the discharge papers offered for registration. (1921, c. 198, s. 1; C.S., s. 3366(k); 1945, c. 659, s. 2; 2011-183, s. 34.)

 

47-110. Registration of official discharge or certificate of lost discharge.

Upon the presentation to the register of deeds of any county of any official discharge, or official certificate of lost discharge, from the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or any other branch of the Armed Forces of the United States the register of deeds shall record the same without charge in the book provided for in G.S. 47-109. (1921, c. 198, s. 2; C.S., s. 3366(l); 1943, c. 599; 1945, c. 659, s. 1; 2011-183, s. 35.)

 

47-111. Inquiry by register of deeds; oath of applicant.

If any register of deeds shall be in doubt as to whether or not any paper so presented for registration is an official discharge from the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or any other branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or an official certificate of lost discharge, the register of deeds shall have power to examine, under oath, the person so presenting such discharge, or otherwise inquire into its validity; and every register of deeds to whom a discharge or certificate of lost discharge is presented for registration shall administer to the person offering such discharge or certificate of lost discharge for registration the following oath, to be recorded with and form a part of the registration of such discharge or certificate of lost discharge:

"I, ______________, being duly sworn, depose and say that the foregoing discharge (or certificate of lost discharge) is the original discharge (or certificate of lost discharge) issued to me by the government of the United States; and that no alterations have been made therein by me, or by any person to my knowledge.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this ________ day of ________, ________"

(1921, c. 198, s. 3; C.S., s. 3366(m); 1999-456, s. 59; 2011-183, s. 36.)

 

47-112. Forgery or alteration of discharge or certificate; punishment.

Any person who shall forge, or in any manner alter any discharge or certificate of lost discharge issued by the government of the United States, and offer the same for registration or secure the registration of the same under the provisions of this Article shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1921, c. 198, s. 4; C.S., s. 3366(n); 1993, c. 539, s. 409; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

47-113. Certified copy of registration.

Any person desiring a certified copy of any such discharge, or certificate of lost discharge, registered under the provisions of this Article shall apply for the same to the register of deeds of the county in which such discharge or certificate of lost discharge is registered. The register of deeds shall furnish certified copies of instruments registered under this Article without charge to any member or former member of the Armed Forces of the United States who applies therefor. (1921, c. 198, s. 5; C.S., s. 3366(o); 1945, c. 659, s. 3; 1969, c. 80, s. 11; 2011-183, s. 37.)

 

47-113.1: Repealed by Session Laws 2003-248, s. 1, effective January 1, 2004.

 

47-113.2. Restricting access to military discharge documents.

(a) All military discharge documents filed on or after January 1, 2004, shall be considered a public record, but for confidential safekeeping and restricted access to such documents, these documents will be filed with the registers of deeds in this State. These documents are exempt from public inspection and access except as allowed in subsections (b) and (m) of this section.

(b) Definitions:

(1) Authorized party. - Four categories of authorized parties are recognized with respect to access to military discharge documents under subsection (e) of this section:

a. The subject of the document or the subject's widow or widower.

b. Agents and representatives of the subject authorized in writing:

1. By the subject or subject's widow or widower in a notarized authorization,

2. By a court to represent subject, or

3. By the subject's executor acting on behalf of a deceased subject.

c. Authorized agents of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, or a court official with an interest in assisting the subject or the deceased subject's beneficiaries to obtain a benefit.

d. Agents or representatives of the North Carolina State Archives.

(2) Filing office. - The office where military discharge documents are recorded, registered, or filed in this State is the register of deeds.

(3) Military discharge document. - Any document that purports to represent a notice of separation from or service in the Armed Forces of the United States or armed forces of any state, including, but not limited to, Department of Defense Form 214 or 215, WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53-55, NAVMC 78-PD, and NAVPERS 553.

(c) A military discharge document shall be accepted for filing upon presentation in person.

(d) The filing officer may refuse to accept any document that is:

(1) Not submitted in person by an authorized party in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.

(2) Not an original, a carbon copy, or a photographic copy issued or certified by an agency of federal or State government.

(e) No copy of a military discharge document or any other information from such document filed after January 1, 2004, shall be made available other than in accordance with subsection (b) or (m) of this section.

(f) Certified copies of a military discharge document will be made available only in accordance with subsection (h) of this section and only by individual request.

(g) Uncertified copies of a military discharge document will be made available to an authorized party in accordance with subsection (b) of this section and only by individual request.

(h) The North Carolina Association of Registers of Deeds and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs shall adopt such request forms and associated rules as are required to implement the provisions of this section. All filing offices shall use the forms and comply with the rules, as adopted.

(i) Completed request forms shall be maintained in the register of deeds for a period of one year.

(j) The request forms shall not be considered public records and are subject to the same restricted access as the military discharge document.

(k) In the event images of and the index to military discharge documents filed prior to January 1, 2004, have not been commingled with other publicly available document images and their index in a filing office, the images and the index will be maintained and are subject to all the provisions of this section that apply to newly filed documents.

(l) The register of deeds shall, to the greatest extent possible, take appropriate protective actions in accordance with any limitations determined necessary by the register of deeds with regard to records that were filed before January 1, 2004.

(m) Subsection (e) of this section shall not apply to images of military discharge documents that have been on file for over 80 years.

(n) There shall be no fee charged for filing military discharge documents or for providing certified copies of military discharge documents provided to those who have a right to access under subsection (e) of this section. Uncertified copy of a military discharge document that becomes public record under subsection (m) of this section is subject to fee as determined in G.S. 161-10(a)(11).

(o) Filing offices shall be responsible for the cost of compliance with this section.

(p) Recording officials shall not be liable for any damages that may result from good faith compliance with the provisions of this section.

(q) The words "register of deeds" appearing in this section shall be interpreted to mean "register of deeds, assistant register of deeds, or deputy register of deeds." (2003-248, s. 2; 2011-183, s. 38; 2011-246, s. 8; 2013-15, s. 1; 2015-241, s. 24.1(o); 2015-268, s. 7.3(a).)

 

47-114. Payment of expenses incurred.

The county commissioners of each county are hereby authorized and empowered in their discretion to appropriate from the general fund of the county an amount sufficient to cover any additional expense incurred by the register of deeds of the county in carrying out the purposes of this Article. (1945, c. 659, s. 3 1/2.)