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Divorce

After the Reformation England was the only Protestant country with no form of legalised divorce. Elsewhere it was available to those who could prove adultery (especially by a wife), desertion or extreme cruelty. A commission to revise the canon law (originating in 1534) proposed a similar system but this never reached the statute book. There were, however, judicial separations and some seem to have interpreted this condition as conferring a right to remarry, although the church never conceded this. A full divorce might, however, be legalised by a private act of parliament. This meant that a full divorce was only available to those rich and influential enough to secure such an act.