Annulment Suits and the épreuve du congrès at the Officialité de Paris in the Early Seventeenth Century : Judicial Theory and Legal Practice
Micheal P. Breen
Breen Michael P., « Annulment Suits and the épreuve du congrès at the Officialité de Paris in the Early Seventeenth Century : Judicial Theory and Legal Practice », Genre & Histoire, 28, Automne 2021.
Although divorce, in the strict sense, was not legalized in France until 1792, sixteenth and seventeenth-century France appears to have experienced a profound divorce crisis, if a number of prominent lawyers, medical professionals, and other writers are to be believed. “There is now nothing more ordinary at the Court and in judgments than the complaints of wives and lascivious requests for dissolutions of marriages,” the avocat Bernard told the Parlement of Paris in 1587. Another early seventeenth-century avocat, Sébastien Roulliard, wrote that such requests had become “frequent and daily,” lamenting that “the unhappiness of this century” permitted wives “to divorce and undermine their husbands routinely on the flimsiest pretexts.” The royal surgeon Charles Guillemeau, meanwhile, claimed that divorce suits had become “so frequent and common today that they seem to be the only complaints one hears in our courtrooms and pleadings.”