What are the Grounds for divorce?
To obtain a divorce you must show there are good reasons for ending your marriage and that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. You must prove one of the five following facts. These are the legal grounds for divorce.
You cannot state ‘irreconcilable differences’ as grounds for divorce.
Your solicitor will help you to decide on the most suitable grounds for your divorce.
Your husband or wife had sex with someone else of the opposite sex, and you can no longer bear to live with them. Your partner must either admit to the adultery or you must be able to provide enough circumstantial evidence to prove the adultery.
You can’t give adultery as a reason if you lived with your husband or wife for 6 months after you found out about it.
You cannot ask for a divorce on the basis of your own adultery. If this is the case then you either need to state a different grounds for divorce, or your spouse must petition for the divorce on the basis of your adultery.
2. Unreasonable behaviour
Your husband or wife behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them. This is the most commonly used grounds for divorce as it can cover such a wide range of behaviour.
Some examples of this could include:
- Physical violence
- Verbal abuse, eg insults or threats
- Excessive drunkenness
- Refusing to pay for housekeeping or financial irresponsibility
The courts do not require the allegations to be particularly serious as long as you can show that you cannot be expected to continue living with the behaviour in question. In some cases it can be beneficial to use mild allegations in order to reach agreement with your spouse and move the process forwards quickly, rather than them contesting the allegations.
Your husband or wife has left you:
- without your agreement
- without a good reason
- to end your relationship
- for more than 2 years in the past 2½ years
You can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to a total of 6 months in this period.
4. You have lived apart for more than 2 years – with consent for the divorce
You can get a divorce if you’ve lived apart for more than 2 years and both agree to the divorce.
Your husband or wife must agree in writing.
5. You have lived apart for more than 5 years – without consent for the divorce
Some of the above terminology can seem very legalistic. A specialist solicitor will help you to decide on the most suitable grounds for your divorce and guide you through the process.
Please contact us for more information or to arrange a consultation.