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The Latvia laws established 10 possible grounds for divorce. They are listed in the table below that also provides the data on divorce statistics taken from the Statistical annuals for 1930 and 1939. I have some real court decisions about divorce, and they prohibit the divorced wife from holding the name of the former husband.

It may be added to the following table that 1 divorce was got in 1930 upon the demand of the state procurator so totally 1451 couple were divorced in that year. For additional research I can add that totally 17,127 marriages were contracted in 1930. Their distribution by ethnicities for 1930 can be found in the special Page. In 1938 1601 marriages were divorced and 16 735 were contracted.

754 of the divorced couples in 1930 were childless, and the other divorced couples totally had at least 1099 children. 863 divorced couples in 1938 were childless and 1085 children were separated from one of the parents.


Ground for the divorce



1938 %
1. The adultery, except the cases when it was committed with agreement or encouragement of the other part, or the other part forgave it.



115 7.2
2. A threat for life or health. The beating or torture of the spouse.



42 2.6
3. Ill-intentioned absence of one of the spouses for more than 1 year.



105 9.6
4. A lasting mental or contagious disease.



19 1.2
5. A disreputable deed, dishonest or unchaste life.



30 1.9
6. Infertility or inability to pursue conjugal life.



12 0.75
7. The aversion against the conjugal life.



8. The destruction of the marital life to the extent that it was not possible to continue the life together.



551 34.4
9. The separate living of both spouses for the period longer than 3 years.



444 27.7
10. The mutual agreement of both spouses.



283 17.7





Some comments could be added:
The ground No. 9 - the separate living of both spouses for the period longer than 3 years. Initially this ground was introduced in the Law to allow to divorce the couples who were separated in the time of WW1 and nothing was known about the other part. It is known that this ground was discovered by inhabitants of West European countries, and they went to Latvia for arranging divorces here. It was important to them that by this ground the divorce was possible without asking the other part.
The ground No. 7. The aversion against the conjugal life. This ground did not exist in 1938.
The ground No. 10. The mutual agreement of both spouses. The number of divorces on this ground was more than 200 in 1926 and 1927, then felt to 40-60 in 1928, 1929 and 1930, increased again to 300-400 for the years 1932-1938. The only explanation could be the world crisis, but I can not imagine the mechanism how it could impact the grounds for divorce.

© Bruno Martuzāns. 1995-2002