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What are the Grounds for divorce?

To obtain a divorce in England you must show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. You must prove one of the following five facts which are the legal grounds for divorce.contact us

Your family solicitor will help you to choose the most suitable grounds for your divorce.

1. Adultery

Your spouse had sex with someone else of the opposite sex, and you can no longer bear to live with them because of this. Your spouse 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 have lived with your husband or wife for 6 months after you found out about the adultery.

Also, you cannot ask for a divorce on the basis of your own adultery. If the reason for the divorce is your own adultery, 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 spouse behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them. This is the most frequently used grounds for divorce as it can cover such a wide range of behaviour.

Some examples of this could include:

The courts in England do not require the allegations used 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 a quick agreement with your spouse and move the process forwards, as they may be more likely to agree to less serious reasons.

3. Desertion

Your spouse has left you:

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 spouse must agree in writing. It is possible to live apart as far as the courts are concerned where the husband and wife have led completely separate lives under the same roof.

5. You have lived apart for more than 5 years – (without consent for the divorce)

Living apart for more than 5 years is usually sufficient to obtain a divorce, even if your spouse disagrees with the divorce.

Please contact us for more information or to arrange a consultation.

Two members of our Family law team are members of Resolution.resolution family lawyers
Members of Resolution are required to follow the Resolution code of practice which commits family lawyers to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational way, preserving people’s dignity and encouraging agreements.