Matrimonial Causes Act

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The Act, which came into force on 1 January 1858, cleared up the previous confused laws of marriage and separation. Jurisdiction for matrimonial affairs was removed from the ecclesiastical courts and placed under a new court headed by the Lord Chancellor. The Act did not make radical changes in procedure or in the legal basis of the grounds for divorce, and the financial cost of divorce remained high. The Act did not apply to Ireland, where people who sought divorce still had to submit a private bill to Parliament. The records of the court established by the Act of 1857 are kept at The National Archives in J 77 as the Principal Probate Registry Divorce Files, 1858 to 1937. These are indexed by the names of parties, subject to a 30 year closure rule.

Subjects: History.

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