Under no circumstances would a Utopian man be allowed to divorce his wife merely because ‘some myshappe is fallen to her bodye,’ that is, she is no longer able to bear children. For old age, according to Utopian philosophy, ‘both bryngeth sycknes with it, and is a sycknes it selfe’, and therefore is a time when everyone is in most need of help and comfort.
On the other hand, should a man and his wife find that they cannot live together in harmony and happiness, and both parties have found another with whom they hope to live ‘more quyetlye and meryly’, they may apply to the council for authority to divorce. The council, however, will not agree to divorce unless the couple have thoroughly examined their situation. Even then, the council would be ‘loth to consent to it bicause they knowe thys to be the nexte waye to breke love betwene a man and wyfe, to be in easye hope of a newe marriage.’
The punishment for adultery is bondage and divorce. If, on the other hand, the injured party still loves the offending spouse, he or she may remain married to them, but will be required to follow their partner into bondage. Such bondage need not last forever if the offender is truly repentant. However, ‘if the same partie be taken eftsones in that faulte, there is no other way but death.’ In other words, one might commit adultery once and pay for the offence by becoming a slave for a time, but to commit adultery more than once attracts the death penalty.