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international divorce 1920s

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international divorce 1920s

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 8:11AM GMT
Classification: Query
A rather complicated case that I could use some advice on. I'll try to outline it as briefly and clearly as I can.

My great aunt Kate was born in England in 1900. In 1920, she and her boyfriend (fiance?) Percy took a trip to Canada, and on arrival in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they immediately got married. They then headed to Toronto and settled there. Nine months later a daughter was born. A little over a year later, a family emergency back in England forced Kate to return to England with her daughter. Percy remained in Toronto looking for work, and Kate was to rejoin him later. However, it seems that Percy had an affair with another woman in the meantime, and that was effectively the end the marriage. Kate and her daughter never returned to Canada and as far as I know never saw Percy again.
Percy remained in Canada, and in 1923 crossed over to the US. In 1930 he became a naturalized US citizen in Chicago. Also in 1930, the census shows he was married to Isabella, a local girl from Chicago, and indicates that they had been married for about a year. They were still together in the 1940 census, and the next record I find of Percy and Isabella is when they both die in Clearwater within a few months of each other in 1964. As far as I can tell they didn't have any children.
My great aunt Kate never remarried.

Now my question is this: where should I try to look for a divorce record for Kate and Percy(assuming that a divorce was indeed granted somewhere and that Percy didn't commit bigamy), given that:
1. Any divorce would have happened sometime between the breakdown of the marriage and Percy's second marriage (i.e. 1922-1929).
2. Presumably the two parties were in two different countries at the time of divorce - Kate would have been in England, while Percy would have been in either Canada (if the divorce was in 1922 or 1923, or in the US (probably Chicago) post-1923 and pre-1930.
3. The marriage itself took place in Canada, but probably neither party was still in Canada by the time the divorce took place.

So in that situation, what would have been the possibilities for divorce? Did it have to be granted in Canada, or could it have been granted in Canada, England or the US?
To be clear, I don't know for a fact that a divorce did take place, it is just my assumption based on the fact that Percy remarried while Kate was still alive (albeit in a different country). How common was bigamy in those situations in those days? I'm guessing it was fairly unlikely he would have been caught, since the US authorities would have no access to Canadian records, and there was probably no one in Chicago that knew anything about his past unless he chose to share it with them.
If there was a divorce, my guess is that Percy is probably the one who pushed for it, as he had most to gain from it (freeing him to remarry, as he did in 1928 or 1929). Kate had nothing particularly to gain from divorce at that time, as far I can see, as she never had another relationship ever again for the remaining 68 years of her life.

Any advice on the above very welcome!
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
marcus1451 28 Aug 2013 2:11PM GMT 
jeandunn841 30 Nov 2013 1:22AM GMT 
marcus1451 1 Dec 2013 8:32PM GMT 
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