Having done that I was then reading the Sussex Advertiser from the 8th July 1851 and came across the following entry:
Distressing case:- At the termination of the magisterial proceedings, a poor
woman named Martin appealed to the Bench under the following
circumstances - She stated for months past she had been a martyr
to the ill-treatment of her husband. She had been married for 15 years
had had several children and yet he not only refused to contribute
to their support but would frequently beat her in the most unmerciful
manner; the last time had had done so having been on Friday week. Her
object was to preserve herself from his ruffianly attacks and she therefore
sought the advice of the Bench. Mr Deane said that the proper course
would have been to have obtained a summons against the man after
the assault on the day mentioned by the woman. So long a time had
now elapsed that the only suggestion he could make was that she had
better let him do it again (laughter).
Unbelievable! Well, they were only 'ruffianly attacks', that doesn't sound too bad at all. At least once the Bench had stopped laughing and enjoying themselves they did agree to bring her husband in front of them to answer for his conduct.
I guess Mr Deane would not be in favour of mother's being given equal billing on the marriage licence!