Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (1558–1783)

Both wives and husbands approached the ecclesiastical courts for many different reasons. They complained that their spouse had arbitrarily separated from them, they called for the negotiation of conditions for “peaceful cohabitation”; they petitioned to receive a tolerance certification for their “de facto” marriages, which they had entered into without producing proof of the former husband or wife’s death and they requested the annulment, separation or divorce of the marriage. Simultaneous to these main proceedings, the spouses often fought for the right to a separate place of residence in additional proceedings, they demanded the handing over of linen, clothes or furniture and filed for provisional custody and/or maintenance. As described in the menu item data collection, we reconstructed the matrimonial proceedings of this period from the thick folios of the consistory, since the submitted writings and certificates are no longer preserved. The correlation of the entries with the “right” proceedings was a methodical challenge, particularly for periods in which the consistorial records contained limited information on the submitted applications and their respective court rulings, but did not include records of the minutes from the hearings or the verdicts.