mental cruelty
mental cruelty n: conduct by one spouse that renders the other's life miserable and unendurable and that is a ground for divorce

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

mental cruelty
n.
In marriage, behavior by one spouse that endangers the mental health of the other or is so humiliating and unpleasant that it makes the other’s life miserable.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


mental cruelty
An archaic term that in some states remains a ground for divorce, or a factor in division of marital property.
Category: Divorce & Family Law → Divorce, Child Support & Custody

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


mental cruelty
n. Behavior by a spouse that threatens the life, bodily health, or psychological health of the other spouse.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.


mental cruelty
A course of conduct on the part of one spouse toward the other spouse that can endanger the mental and physical health and efficiency of the other spouse to such an extent as to render continuance of the marital relation intolerable. As a ground for divorce, it is conduct that causes embarrassment, humiliation, and anguish so as to render life miserable and unendurable or to cause a spouse's life, person, or health to become endangered.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.


mental cruelty
A course of conduct on the part of one spouse toward the other spouse that can endanger the mental and physical health and efficiency of the other spouse to such an extent as to render continuance of the marital relation intolerable. As a ground for divorce, it is conduct that causes embarrassment, humiliation, and anguish so as to render life miserable and unendurable or to cause a spouse's life, person, or health to become endangered.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

mental cruelty
n.
   a term, rapidly going out of fashion and out of the statutes, which has been used to justify granting a divorce when the state laws required that some wrong had to be found in the defending spouse. In absence of actual physical cruelty (or unwillingness to discuss it) the person wanting the divorce could testify to a list of indignities ("he swore at me, he came home late, he humiliated me in front of friends, he was hateful to my mother, he read girlie magazines," or similar tales told about the wife) which would be verified by a relative or a friend to satisfy the judge that the petitioning spouse would suffer mental harm if the marriage continued and proved that there were grounds for a divorce. As "no-fault" divorce has gained favor, such charades have faded into legal history.
   See also: cruelty, divorce

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • mental cruelty — noun 1. : a course of conduct by an offending spouse without physical cruelty evidencing personal indignities that wound the feelings of and show a lack of respect and affection for the complaining spouse and constituting a basis for separation 2 …   Useful english dictionary

  • mental cruelty — A course of conduct on the part of one spouse toward the other spouse which can endanger the mental and physical health and efficiency of the other spouse to such an extent as to render continuance of the marital relation intolerable. As a ground …   Black's law dictionary

  • mental cruelty — A course of conduct on the part of one spouse toward the other spouse which can endanger the mental and physical health and efficiency of the other spouse to such an extent as to render continuance of the marital relation intolerable. As a ground …   Black's law dictionary

  • mental cruelty — As ground for divorce, misconduct which impairs or threatens to impair physical or mental health of the complainant in the action, 24 Am J2d Div & S § 35; conduct on the part of the defendant which renders it impracticable for the complainant to… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • mental cruelty — noun Law conduct that makes another person suffer but does not involve physical assault …   English new terms dictionary

  • mental cruelty — /mɛntl ˈkruəlti/ (say mentl kroohuhltee) noun conduct which inflicts suffering on another s mind, formerly grounds for legal separation or divorce …   Australian English dictionary

  • cruelty — cru·el·ty n pl ties 1 a: an intentional or criminally negligent act that causes pain and suffering cruelty to animals cruelty to children b: mistreatment or neglect that causes pain and suffering compare abuse …   Law dictionary

  • cruelty — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ extreme, great ▪ an act of extreme cruelty ▪ deliberate (esp. BrE) ▪ casual ▪ mental …   Collocations dictionary

  • cruelty — n. 1) to demonstrate, display cruelty 2) consummate, deliberate, wanton cruelty 3) mental cruelty 4) cruelty to, towards (cruelty to animals) * * * [ kruːəltɪ] deliberate displaycruelty wanton cruelty towards (cruelty to animals) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • cruelty */ — UK [ˈkruːəltɪ] / US [ˈkruəltɪ] noun Word forms cruelty : singular cruelty plural cruelties 1) [countable/uncountable] behaviour that deliberately causes pain to other people or animals, or that makes them unhappy or upset She was shocked by the… …   English dictionary

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