Today’s Strange Legal Relic from the Civil War

In 1862, the legislature of Mississippi enacted the following statute:

It is lawful for any married woman to alledge [sic] as a cause of divorce, that her husband is engaged in the service of the United States of America, either in the army or navy, or from choice reside in any one of the States of the United States in preference to residence in one of the Confederate States. Provided, that such divorce shall not render illegitimate the children of such marriage.

Interestingly, the Confederate husband whose wife sided with the Yankees was left without specific recourse, although I believe that female abandonment of the marital home was always cause for divorce. One also wonders about the loyal son of the South caught on the wrong side of the lines and forced to reside amongst the Northerners. Could he argue that he did not reside by “preference,” or was his wife free to cut him off?

You may also like...