Victorian Era Divorces: Reason and Process

What was the significance of Marriage?

During the Victorian era, marriages were not very romanticized. Love actually played a very little role in the marriages. They were very different in reality as compared to the ones depicted in the novels of those times. The matrimony was much needed for conveyance rather than companionship.

Ground for seeking divorce

The view of the people during the Victorian era on divorce was very lopsided. During the Victorian era, divorce was not a common practice. It was not easily acceptable in the Victorian society. It was difficult to obtain. Giving divorce to one’s spouse was very difficult. There had to be strong grounds for giving divorce.

The only reason of divorce which was acceptable in the Victorian era was adultery. However, adultery was only valid for man. It was the only reason which was considered as valid and that was also available to the males.

Evidence needed for divorce

If a woman had to obtain a divorce on the ground of adultery, then she had to prove that her husband had indulged in bigamy and thus had committed adultery. She also had to prove that her husband had performed excessive cruelty on her and had engaged in incest along with bigamy in order to supplement her claim for divorce.

The main reason for this was that the husbands were supposed to take care of their wives and their fidelity doesn’t matter while the wives on the other hand if caught cheating then were seen as disrespecting the care of their husbands and thus were a failure in fulfilling their duties towards their husbands.

However, during the mid 19th century, the laws dealing the provision of divorce were modified with a view to making it more accessible for both men and women. But it was of no use. Not much change was seen in the practice regarding divorce.

In the Victorian era, divorce was extremely expensive. It entailed to loss of property and wealth. As the property and wealth were accumulated from generations in the family, obtaining a divorce was neither economical nor socially practical. Thus, it was not an acceptable norm in the Victorian era.

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