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UF Law Faculty Publications

Law and Gender

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Untying The Knot: An Analysis Of The English Divorce And Matrimonial Causes Court Records, 1858-1866, Danaya C. Wright Jan 2004

Untying The Knot: An Analysis Of The English Divorce And Matrimonial Causes Court Records, 1858-1866, Danaya C. Wright

UF Law Faculty Publications

Historians of Anglo-American family law consider 1857 as a turning point in the development of modern family law and the first big step in the breakdown of coverture and the recognition of women's legal rights. In 1857, The United Kingdom Parliament ("Parliament") created a new civil court to handle all divorce and matrimonial causes, removing the jurisdiction of: the ecclesiastical courts over marital validity; the Chancery over custody of children and separate estates; the royal courts over marital property; and Parliament over full divorce. The new Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Court, a wing of the admiralty and probate courts ...


"Well-Behaved Women Don't Make History": Rethinking English Family, Law, And History, Danaya C. Wright Jan 2004

"Well-Behaved Women Don't Make History": Rethinking English Family, Law, And History, Danaya C. Wright

UF Law Faculty Publications

In 1857 Parliament finally succumbed to public and political pressure and passed a bill creating a domestic relations court: the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes. This new court for the first time in common-law history, combined the following jurisdictions: the ecclesiastical court's jurisdiction over marital validity and separation; the Chancery court's jurisdiction over child custody and equitable estates; the common-law court's jurisdiction over property; and Parliament's jurisdiction over divorce and marital settlements. Wives were given the legal right to seek a divorce or judicial separation in a court of law, receive custody of the children ...


The Crisis Of Child Custody: A History Of The Birth Of Family Law In England, Danaya C. Wright Jan 2002

The Crisis Of Child Custody: A History Of The Birth Of Family Law In England, Danaya C. Wright

UF Law Faculty Publications

This article attempts to show that the inter-spousal custody cases of the nineteenth century created such a crisis in equity that they eventually demanded a new court structure and a new set of legal doctrines. The custody cases posed such a profound threat to the stability and authority of the Chancery courts that within fifty years an entirely new court system was required. That court system combined the tripartite jurisdictions of the law, equity, and ecclesiastical courts in matrimonial matters. While many scholars and historians have applauded that moment, I would suggest that the new court was merely a way ...