, or Divorcee
, refers to a woman whose marriage ended in divorce
, a legal dissolution of marriage before death of either spouse. At one time the term had negative cultural and religious associations. In Europe and North America this began to moderate in the 1960s.
Before no-fault divorce
became popular, divorces were granted on the basis of fault on the part of one or the other (or both) of the spouses. Divorce was thus a scandalous phenomenon: one or both of the spouses had committed at least one of the narrowly-defined grounds for divorce
. In those days, the wife was almost always allowed to file for divorce (even if the husband wanted the divorce, or if the wife had committed the fault). Nevertheless, a divorced woman was subject to considerable social opprobrium.