Marvin M. Moore


Under American and English Law a spouse who has once condoned a marital transgression by his mate is thereafter barred from using that transgression as grounds for divorce. All of the common grounds for divorce, including adultery, cruelty, habitual drunkenness, and desertion, are subject to the condonation principle. The doctrine had its origin in the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, where it was applied by the ecclesiastical courts in adjudicating petitions for divorce (amensa et thoro) grounded on cruelty or adultery. The principle survived the changes caused by the Reformation to subsist as part of English ecclesiastical law, was brought to America by the English colonists, and was received by the American courts (none of which were ecclesiastical tribunals) as a part of the common law. Today over half the states have statutes providing for the application of condonation, and the doctrine operates as a common law rule in the remaining jurisdictions."

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