the disruption, by the act of law, of the conjugal tie, made by a competent court on due cause shown. In the United States, jurisdiction in divorce cases is usually conferred on the law courts by the statutes in the different States, there being no ecclesiastical courts in the English sense of that term. The causes of divorce enumerated in these statutes are by no means uniform in relation to the various States; South Carolina allows no divorce under any circumstances, but in most of the States divorce may be granted on any of the following grounds: Adultery, conviction of felony, cruel and inhuman treatment, willful desertion for periods varying from one to three years, habitual drunkenness, impotency, or neglect to support the wife.
The want of harmony in the legislation of the different States on this subject has led to very great confusion and conflict in regard to the rights and liabilities growing out of divorce against non-residents of the State where granted, and some uniform system of laws on the subject is greatly needed. As the jurisdiction of Congress over the subject is very doubtful, uniformity can apparently be secured only by an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or by the concurrent action of the various State Legislatures.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.