The five grounds for divorce
The court will accept one of these five reasons listed below as proof that the marriage has broken down. These are known as the grounds for divorce and one must apply to your case:
1. Adultery and Intolerability
Your partner has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them. Admission or proof by your partner is required for this ground. This ground can be used even if you still live with your partner.
However, after discovering that your partner has committed adultery and you continue to live together for a period of more than 6 months then this ground cannot be used. Unless it is then proven that adultery is still continuing.
2. Unreasonable Behaviour
This is the most common ground used in divorce proceedings in England.
In this case, your partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. In this instance, the courts make a judgement of your partner’s behaviour and its effect on you.
Many allegations can be covered by ‘unreasonable behaviour’ therefore your petition needs to evidently set out the key things that have made it difficult to live with your partner.
In this case, your partner has deserted you without agreement or good reason, for a continuous period of 2 years or more.
4. Separation for more than 2 years
In this case, you and your partner have been living separately from your partner for more than 2 years and you both agree to the divorce.
In addition, you can live together for periods of time leading to the divorce petition however these periods cannot add up to more than 6 months in total.
The period spent apart from your partner must add up to at least 2 years in total.
5. Separation for more than 5 years
If you have lived apart from your partner for more than 5 years, this ground applies to you. In this case, it is not necessary for your partner to consent to the divorce.
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