The essay is a study of divorce in England in the Modern Period, with particular reference to parliamentary divorce, established since the end of the seventeenth century. If husbands could get rid of undesired wives through wife-selling, private separation deeds, or separation a mensa et thoro awarded by the ecclesiastical courts, they were not permitted to remarry unless they got a private bill from Parliament. Parliament acted as a real court of justice and, being the procedure extremely long and expensive, parliamentary divorce was in fact a privilege reserved to members of the aristocracy in search of a heir. Only in 1857 the Divorce Act legalized divorce in the country through the establishment of the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes.
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