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What are the Grounds for Divorce

To obtain a divorce in England you have to show that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. A specialist Family Lawyer can help you to choose which is the most appropriate of the legal grounds for divorce.

You cannot simply state "irreconcilable differences" as the reason, or that you have simply drifted apart.

We offer a free initial consultation for all new clients. Please contact us to arrange a consultation.

To obtain a divorce you must show one of the following five reasons:

1. Adultery

Your spouse must have had sex with a member of the opposite sex. They may have admitted this to you or you must be able to provide strong enough circumstantial evidence to back up your claim.

You cannot seek a divorce because of your own adultery. If this is the reason for the divorce then your spouse must be the one to petition for the divorce, otherwise a different reason must be found.

2. Unreasonable behaviour

Unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason used to petition for a divorce as it can cover a whole array of different behaviours and circumstances.

You must show that your partner's behaviour is so unreasonable that you cannot continue to live with them. Examples of this behaviour may include, excessive drinking, financial irresponsibility, domestic abuse, lack of communication or lack of intimacy.

The Courts do not require the allegations to be particularly serious to grant a divorce. The main thing is to show that you cannot be expected to continue living with the behaviour in question.

In some cases, to facilitate an uncontested divorce, it can be beneficial to use mild allegations in order to reach agreement with your spouse.

3. Two years separation - with consent from your spouse to the divorce

If you have been living apart from your spouse for two years and you both agree to get a divorce.

It must be clear that the marriage was effectively at an end before the two year period of separation.

4. Five years separation - consent for divorce not required from your spouse

You do not need consent for the divorce from your spouse if you have been living apart for five years.

5. Desertion

If you spouse has left you, against your will, for a period of two years or more then you may petition on the basis of desertion.

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