The first legal record of a divorce in the English Colonies was recorded on January 5, 1643. Anne Clarke of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was granted a divorce from her husband, Denis Clarke, by the Quarter Court of Boston. He was accused of having abandoned his wife and two children he had with her. That was likely because he was living with and had two other children with another woman, which he admitted to in an affadavit to John Winthrop, Jr., son of the colony’s founder.

The Quarter Court’s final decision read: “Anne Clarke, beeing deserted by Denis Clarke hir husband, and hee refusing to accompany with hir, she is graunted to bee divorced.” English has evolved a bit in 377 years. I can not imagine this conduct sat well in a Puritan Society.

Thankfully, today we have divorce mediation to make the process a bit easier for all the involved parties.