Prof. Tone Sverdrup
Department of Private Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo October 2002
1. What is the current source of law for divorce?
The current source of law for divorce in Norway is the Marriage Act 1991.1 The grounds for divorce are regulated in Chapter 4, sections 19 – 25 of the Marriage Act 1991 and procedural questions are dealt with in Chapter 5, sections 26 – 30.
2. Give a brief history of the main developments of your divorce law
Christian the Fifth’s Norwegian Law of 1687 allowed three grounds for divorce (adultery, impotency and desertion), but after 1790 divorce was granted in administrative practice after a period of separation2 (3 years) or non-cohabitation (6-7 years). Divorce without a previous period of separation or non-cohabitation could only be given on a fault basis.
Divorce by consent was introduced in the Divorce Law 1909 as an autonomous ground for divorce, after a period of separation (1 year). When the spouses did not agree to a divorce, several fault grounds existed, and in addition there was also divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown. This divorce regime was retained in the Marriage Act 1918 and it lasted until the Marriage Act 1991. After a