13 August 2005

Liberal Territorial Utah Divorce Laws

The Mormon Question also has some details on Utah's early divorce laws. I was aware that they were fairly lenient, but I had no idea how lenient.

The divorce statute enacted by the territorial legislature in 1852 applied to anyone who was "a resident or wishes to become one." It also allowed a divorce "when it shall appear to the satisfaction and conviction of the Court, that the parties cannot live in peace and union together, and that their welfare requires a separation." Utah's law was the most liberal in the country at the time, since divorce usually required adultery or extreme abuse.

In fact, Utah's law was so convenient that Eastern lawyers used preprinted forms that only required names, dates, and locations to get a Utah divorce.

But that residency law would be great for getting in-state tuition.

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