Divorces in ancient times

Divorces have been viewed by the public and by the law in very different ways throughout history. The first cultures where getting a divorce became an institution were ancient cultures, such as the ancient Greece or the Roman Empire. The citizens of ancient Athens could divorce freely, if the person requesting the divorce provided reasonable grounds for the divorce to the magistrate. The magistrate evaluated the evidence and the sufficiency of the reasons for the divorce and authorised the divorce if it was deemed reasonable. Throughout the history of the Roman Empire the attitudes towards divorce have fluctuated. In early Roman history they were not common at all. Later as the lavish lifestyle associated with the expansion and growth of the Roman Empire was established, divorces became very common. Both the husband and the wife were able to request a divorce freely, which made divorces a common occurrence. When christianity spread through Rome and christian emperors reigned, divorces became increasingly difficult. A very serious reason had to be provided for the authorities. In the 6th century these rules were eased. Today it is easier to get a divorce than it was for our ancestors, however it can still be challenging. Contact our Divorce Solicitors in Weybridge at Prentice Family Law to get legal advice on getting a divorce.

Divorce in medieval and modern history

Throughout the Middle Ages marital affairs administration was in the hands of the church. As the Catholic Church considered marriage a sacrament, they were not supportive of divorce, and so divorces were very rare. Contrary to the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church was slightly more accepting with divorces. The Orthodox Church recognised that in certain situations divorce is the only realistic option and allowed it to happen in a restricted number of cases.

Prior to the reformation divorcees had to go through the court proceedings of the Catholic Church, which most often did not result in a divorce. As the reformation spread through Europe the administration of marital affairs was taken over by secular authorities, who treated marriage as a contract, however they often adapted parts of the ecclesiastic court decision making process, therefore divorces were still uncommon at this time. The right to divorce started to be recognised in Europe around the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Interestingly, the first divorce law of Italy was only introduced in the 1970s. Despite our right to divorce, the process can still be difficult: contact our Divorce Solicitors in Weybridge for help with proceeding with your divorce.

Causes of divorce, domestic abuse

One of the most common causes of divorce is extramarital sex and relationships according to an annual report prepared by a UK management consultancy. The second most frequent cause leading to a divorce is domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is unfortunately a prevalent issue, and it is important to know that there is help available for domestic abuse victims. The charity Refuge operates a 0-24 operating helpline to support you. If necessary, you can get a referral to get emergency temporary accommodation.