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matrimonial offence

Misbehaviour, such as adultery, desertion, or cruelty, by a party to a marriage. Formerly, proof of matrimonial offences provided grounds for divorce and was important in applications in magistrates’ courts for financial relief during the marriage. Such conduct now only affects the courts’ orders for financial provision upon divorce if it is unusually serious; it does not affect orders for custody unless the conduct is considered to be detrimental to the child’s welfare.

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