Matrimonial Causes Act, 1878



An Act to amend the Matrimonial Causes Acts. [27th May 1878.]

Short title.

1. This Act may be cited as the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1878.

Costs of intervention.

2. Where the Queen’s proctor or any other person shall intervene or show cause against a decree nisi in any suit or proceeding for divorce or for nullity of marriage, the Court may make such order as to the costs of the Queen’s proctor, or of any other person who shall intervene or show cause as aforesaid, or of all and every party or parties thereto, occasioned by such intervention or showing cause as aforesaid, as may seem just; and the Queen’s proctor, any other person as aforesaid, and such party or parties shall be entitled to recover such costs in like manner as in other cases: Provided that the Treasury may, if it shall think fit, order any costs which the Queen’s proctor shall, by any order of the Court made under this section, pay to the said party or parties, to be deemed to be part of the expenses of his office.

Extension of power given by 22 & 23 Vict. 61. s. 5.

3. The Court may exercise the powers vested in it by the provisions of section five of the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1859, notwithstanding that there are no children of the marriage.

If husband convicted of aggravated assault, Court may order that wife be not bound to cohabit, &c. 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100.

4. [1] If a husband shall be convicted summarily or otherwise of an aggravated assault within the meaning of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861, section forty-three, upon his wife, the court or magistrate before whom he shall be so convicted may, if satisfied that the future safety of the wife is in peril, order that the wife shall be no longer bound to cohabit with her husband; and such order shall have the force and effect in all respects of a decree of judicial separation on the ground of cruelty; and such order may further provide,

(1.) That the husband shall pay to his wife such weekly sum as the Court or magistrate may consider to be in accordance with his means, and with any means which the wife may have for her support, and the payment of any sum of money so ordered shall be enforceable and enforced against the husband in the same manner as the payment of money is enforced under an order of affiliation; and the Court or magistrate by whom any such order for payment of money shall be made shall have power from time to time to vary the same on the application of either the husband or the wife, upon proof that the means of the husband or wife have been altered in amount since the original order or any subsequent order varying it shall have been made;

(2.) That the legal custody of any children of the marriage under the age of ten years shall, in the discretion of the Court or magistrate, be given to the wife.

Provided always, that no order for payment of money by the husband, or for the custody of children by the wife, shall be made in favour of a wife who shall be proved to have committed adultery, unless such adultery has been condoned; and that any order for payment of money or for the custody of children may be discharged by the Court or magistrate by whom such order was made upon proof that the wife has since the making thereof been guilty of adultery; and provided also, that all orders made under this section shall be subject to appeal to the Probate and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice.

[1 Rep. except as to I., 58 & 59 Vict. c. 39. s. 12.]