Files of papers arising from petitions for divorce, judicial separation, declarations of legitimacy, applications for protection of a wife's earnings, etc, in the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes and Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice. Some later files also relate to appeals from decisions of magistrates' courts in matrimonial causes.
Access is by the indexes in J 78.
Between 1858 and 1927 almost all divorce files survive. Between 1928 and 1937, the 80% of suits that were filed in the Central Registry are in J 77. The 20% of suits that were filed in the new district registries were destroyed (they are not indexed by J 78). After 1938, through to cases where petitions were filed in 1972, very few survive for each year. Files containing petitions dated after 1972 have not been transferred to The National Archives.
Many files contain marriage certificates. Later files (after 1938) may contain photographs.