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Unusual Wording In A Divorce

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bluemoon1 | 18:55 Thu 11th Jul 2019 | Law
9 Answers
I have been researching my family tree and obtained a copy of a decree nisi which states that
The marriage between
Name of Bride Respondent
and
Name of Husband Petitioner
be dissolved by reason that since the celebration thereof the said Petitioner had deserted the Respondent without cause for a period of at least three years immediately preceding the filing of the answer.
It seems strange to me that the person asking for the divorce is the one that left or was that normal back in the day. It was in the 60s

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I've been unable to find the full text of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1937 (which would have applied at that time). However this summary seems to confirm your belief that the petitioner would normally need to show that the other party to the marriage had deserted the petitioner: https://www.perfar.eu/policies/matrimonial-causes-act-1937 I suspect...
19:16 Thu 11th Jul 2019
Question Author
I would have thought it should have been the other way round and the respondent would have to have deserted the petitioner.
Have I misunderstood? I thought it was far more usual for the one who leaves to be the one who wants the divorce.
'No Fault Divorce' or 'Divorce by mutual consent' did not exist back in the 1960s. So seperations were 'arranged' to give a reason ! So this was normal back in the 60s !
Question Author
Yes Prudie, that is how I see it but the grounds for divorce cannot be desertion if you have left the marriage. Or have I misunderstood?
I've been unable to find the full text of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1937 (which would have applied at that time). However this summary seems to confirm your belief that the petitioner would normally need to show that the other party to the marriage had deserted the petitioner:
https://www.perfar.eu/policies/matrimonial-causes-act-1937

I suspect that, since the petitioner would have had to pay the court fees, the court might have been prepared to accept an arrangement whereby the husband said "Yes, you can have a divorce on the grounds that I deserted you and, because of that, I'll submit the petition and pay for it"
Question Author
So the husband got married then ran away for three years and divorced his wife on the grounds of desertion?
I wouldn't have thought that was allowed even now.
Question Author
Sorry crossed replies Buenchico, and thanks
from Mulherron v Mulherron 1923

This case is materially different from a case where the spouse alleging desertion has been the first to separate. In Gibson v. Gibson ( 21 R. 470), where the wife separated herself from the society of her husband because of his cruelty and made no effort to resume it, Lord Rutherfurd Clark at p. 478, after pointing out how material the presence or absence of remonstrance is in determining whether the separation existed of mutual consent, adds these words, which appear to me of great significance—“Especially when the spouse who complains of being deserted was the first to separate.”

seems to answer the question
yes they could

the old law changed in 1967 -
and everyone took up their pozzies for the new law

IN the forsyte saga,
Monty Dart deserts Thingey and Soames Forsyte sends a letter telling him to return ( his failure to return will set up the divorce)
and he does !
return ....

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