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Lecture 5

SDS 353R Lecture 5: The Evolution of Family Law – January 20th


Social Development Studies
Course Code
Catherine Briggs

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The Evolution of Family Law – January 20th
English Law and Tradition
- England did not allow divorce in the 1800s
oOnly by legislative divorce started in the late 1600s by an act of
oMostly for the elite
- English divorce act 1857
oAllowed to divorce before the court in order to get a divorce
More accessible
Women had to proof adultery and other matrimonial fault such
as incest considered more serious
Posed a greater threat to the matrimonial unit
Constituted a violation of a mans property
Inheritance, property
Men only had to prove adultery considered less serious
Development of divorce laws in Colonies
- Colonial jurisdiction for divorce until 1867
- 1867 – Federal government assumes jurisdiction
- Legislative divorce (federal)
oOnly really open to the elite
- Federal government opposition – “considerable impediments to the granting
of divorce”
oMaking a divorce extremely hard
oWant to have a system where it is extremely hard to get a divorce, and
most people will not be able to have divorce and encourage more
marriage to stay together
oKeep marriages together, family together and is seen as stabilizing
oCreate a nation with strong morals and values
- Belief that a stable marriage and family leads to a stable nation
Development of divorce law in colonies
- Upper Canada/Ontario
oLegislative decree
oDivorce is limited and inaccessible
- Manitoba, Northwest
oDivorce only by federal legislative decree
- Lower Canada/Quebec
oMarriage as indissoluble
oMarriage decree
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