The aim of this paper is to present French provisions from the Napoleonic times which regulated divorce proceedings. It concerns not only legal rules but also the practice of their application in Poland in early 19th century. The Napoleonic Code regulated divorce proceedings separately from the ordinary procedure that was applied to a limited extent. The main goal of the lawmakers was to reduce the number of divorces, very popular in the revolutionary period. This goal was achieved by introducing a number of formalities that were required during the proceedings. There were two separate models of proceedings. The first option was a divorce for cause determinate, the second – a divorce by mutual consent. The first way consisted of an obligatory attempt at conciliation, of a possibility of suspending a permission of citation and it required at least four hearings. Yet the major limitation, in comparison to the revolutionary period, was a reduction of grounds for divorce. Only adultery, outrageous conduct and conviction to infamous punishment entitled a spouse to seek divorce. The second model of proceedings was initiated by a petition for divorce with mutual consent. In this case, spouses were required to appear four times (with three-month intervals in between) before the president of the court in the assistance of two notaries. Each time they had to declare their will to dissolve the marriage and submit new divorce authorizations from their parents.


Keywords: divorce; Napoleonic Code; Duchy of Warsaw; Congress Kingdom of Poland.