Íslenskar mæðgur skrifa Danakonungi: skilnaðarleyfi vegna heimilisofbeldis í lok átjándu aldar.
Í Danmörku tóku umbótasinnuð stjórnvöld þá stefnu fyrir aldamótin 1800 að auðvelda aðgengi hjóna að skilnaði í gegnum ákveðið leyfisveitingakerfi. Samhliða hefðbundinni dómstólaleið gátu þegnar Danakonungs fengið skilnað með leyfi konungs án þess að uppfylla skilyrði laga um hjónaskilnaði og grundvallaðist leyfið á óskoruðu valdi einvaldsins til að veita undanþágur frá gildandi lögum. Vendipunktur þessarar þróunar var úrskurður sem Friðrik krónprins (síðar Friðrik VI. Danakonungur), í samráði við Christian Colbjørnsen, ráðgjafa konungs í lögfræðilegum efnum, kvað upp í tveimur skilnaðarmálum í Danmörku sumarið 1790. Þetta sama sumar skrifaði prestsekkjan Margrét Jóhannsdóttir bónarbréf til konungs og bað um algjöran skilnað fyrir hönd dóttur sinnar Hólmfríðar Jónsdóttur. Hólmfríður hafði þá verið skilin við fyrrverandi eiginmann sinn að borði og sæng frá árinu 1781 sökum heimilisofbeldis. Málið veitir innsýn í meðferð og úrlausn bónarbréfa Íslendinga til konungs á síðari hluta átjándu aldar.
Icelandic Mother and Daughter Petition the Danish King: 18th-Century Divorce Based on Domestic Violence Influenced by natural theory and the Enlightenment, marital dissolution became more accessible in the Danish realm during the late 18th century. Royal dispensations were issued that freed spouses and individuals from the constraints decreed in Frederik II’s Marriage Ordinance, which had entered into law following the Reformation. The turning point towards freedom came when Crown Prince Frederik (later king Frederik VI) granted a divorce by dispensation, on grounds of incompatabilty, in June 1790 to spouses who had previously separated. A month later an Icelandic clerical widow, Margrét Jóhannsdóttir, used her rights as a subject to request the king for a divorce on behalf of her daughter Hólmfríður. Hólmfríður had already been granted separation by dispensation in 1781 due to her husband Þorsteinn Jónsson’s marital violence, even though violence and marital cruelty were not seen as legally valid reasons at that time. Hólmfríður received a divorce by royal decree in June 1791, and a year later she was also exempted from paying for the divorce certificate. Hólmfríður’s case sheds valuable light on procedures of the Danish supplication system and its execution in Iceland, including the roles of local authorities. As the records of the latter reveal, they decided favourably on Margrét and Hólmfríður’s supplications. Hólmfríður was however the first subject in Iceland to be granted divorce by royal decree subsequent to the June 1790 turning point, and in fact was one of the first in the entire Danish realm. At this early phase of what later evolved into regular administrative arrangements for divorce, there were still no formal rules regarding child custody, maintenance, or property division. In Hólmfríður’s case, she seems to have been released from marriage empty-handed and had to earn a living as a servant or nanny in the households of relatives and other people. Her only child, a son, was first placed with strangers but afterwards, from the age of six, stayed with his father. When the son had later become a pastor, it was in his home that Hólmfríður died at the age of 79, having remained sick in bed for a week, delirious from an infectious disease and pleurisy.