#ThrowbackThursday: Pre-Divorce Act Divorces


As I wrap up Throwback Thursday Family Law month, I had to include this little piece of history I learned about one day while going through old Statutes of Canada. This may be old news to many of you, but I thought it was quite interesting. As too did Library and Archives Canada, since I’m going to shamelessly steal text from them for this:

The first federal Divorce Act was passed by Parliament in 1968, establishing a uniform divorce law across Canada. Before that, there were different laws relating to divorce in different provinces.

From 1840 to 1968, many divorces in Canada were granted by private acts of the Parliament of Canada. Before 1867, only five divorce acts were passed and published either in the Statutes of the Province of Canada or in the Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada.

From 1867 to 1968, in some provinces a person wishing to obtain a divorce was first required to place a notice of intent to petition the government for an Act of Divorce in the Canada Gazette and in two newspapers in the district or county where the petitioner resided. It was to appear for a six-month period.

The petition would contain details such as the date and place of the marriage, and events surrounding the demise of the marriage. In the case of adultery or bigamy, a co-respondent was often named. If the petition was allowed, Parliament would pass an Act of Divorce nullifying the marriage.

Between 1867 and 1963, a transcript of the Act was published in the Statutes of Canada for the current year. Between 1964 and 1968, the transcript was published in the Journals of the Senate of Canada.

For more from Library and Archives Canada, click here.

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