The Legislative Assembly reforms divorce law (1792)


On September 20th 1792 the Legislative Assembly, in its last session before dissolving, passed a decree that made divorce a civil rather than a religious process:

“The Legislative Assembly, having decided on this as a matter of urgency, decrees on the causes, the manner and the consequences of divorce, as follows…

Article 2. A divorce may occur through the mutual consent of the spouses.

Article 3. One of the spouses may have a divorce issued on the simple allegation of incompatibility of temperament or character.

Article 4. Each of the spouses may equally have the divorce issued on specific grounds, that is:

a. the dementia, madness or violence of one of the spouses;

b. the condemnation of one of them to corporal or serious punishment;

c. the crime, cruelty or serious affront of one towards the other;

d. the acknowledged dissoluteness of morals;

e. the abandonment of the wife by the husband, or of the husband by the wife, for
at least two years;

f. the absence of one of them, without news, for at least five years.”