This site http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/seminars/finlay.html
covers a fair history from England in 17th cent. and covers Australian States and grounds for divorce, no. of years separation required for desertion plea( eg. am looking in 1911 when 5 years desertion was the requirement)-perhaps the US also followed the English model, tho it was harder for women to succeed in divorcing a husband in the 1830s.