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Grounds for Divorce

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 6 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Grounds For Divorce Living Apart

If you are thinking about divorce before you go any further with the process that will dissolve your marriage you must be sure that you have legal grounds to ask for a divorce. In law only certain circumstances will be granted a divorce by the courts.

The law states that you have to prove that your marriage has irrevocably broken down by showing that at least one of five facts is true. If you can satisfy the court that one of these facts applies to your marriage, your divorce will be granted. The five facts are:

If Both Parties in the marriage have Lived Apart for More than 2 Years

If the divorce isn’t contested, a divorce will usually be granted in these circumstances. It is possible for two people to continue to live in the same place, but to carry on totally separate lives. The court will want to see proof that you and your spouse are living separately that can include sleeping, cooking and washing independently.

If Both Parties in the Marriage have Lived Apart for More than 5 Years

If this amount of time has elapsed the divorce will usually be granted even if one party contests the divorce. One party in the divorce may claim they would suffer financial hardship if the divorce were to be granted. It is a good idea to discuss the details with a solicitor if you are going to use this fact as the basis for your divorce petition.

If One of the Parties in the Marriage Deserts the Other for More than 2 Years

Desertion is defined as leaving your partner without good reason. Also, the period of desertion must be continuous. Short periods of desertion cannot be added together.

If One Partner Behaves Unreasonably Towards the Other

This can be serious misconduct due to excessive drinking, but can equally mean things like working long hours and ignoring family responsibilities. The court will have to make an objective decision about whether the behaviour is unreasonable and therefore grounds for a divorce.

If One Partner Commits Adultery with a Person of the Opposite Sex

Sex with a person of the same sex is not considered adultery. If you continue to live with your partner for over 6 months after discovering they have committed adultery it is unlikely that the court would grant your divorce based on this fact as too much time has gone by. You do not have to name the other party in the adultery. But if you don’t know their name, you must state this in the divorce petition you send to the court.

Note that civil partnerships between same sex partners also have to prove that their partnerships has broken down, but do not have to prove adultery. Civil partnerships tend to use unreasonable behaviour as the qualifying factor in their divorce proceedings.

Grounds for Divorce in Scotland

All of the five facts regarding grounds for divorce apply in Scotland except desertion that has now been abolished as a ground for divorce. Also, you only need to have lived apart for 1 year in Scotland to be granted a divorce and not 2 years as in England and Wales. The five-year separation fact is also reduced to 2 years if you live in Scotland.

Grounds for Divorce in Northern Ireland

The five facts apply to divorces in Northern Ireland. However, the do-it-yourself divorces that can be completed by simply filling in forms are not possible in Northern Ireland. All divorce cases are heard before a judge.

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[Add a Comment]
my husband was sent to prison in 2005 and is still there we were only married for 3 weeks before he was arrested and taken straight to prison I want a divorce but do I do it the grounds of desertion or 5 year separation?
Elaine - 6-Apr-18 @ 11:19 AM
My wife committed adultery and admitted it. I know the 3rd parties name but not their address. Can I still use this as a reason on the petition?
Paulo - 25-Oct-17 @ 5:33 AM
@Kaz - unless you've had a clean break divorce, then it leaves the door open for your ex to claim on your marital estate. If you can prove the money came via external means, then this should be OK. But if any of the money you have used was money that might be construed as joint money, then he can definitely come for this. It's unlikely he will though if you've drawn up a separation order.
AliD - 24-Oct-17 @ 3:18 PM
If a husband leaves for someone else and has been gone( living with another woman)5 years with no contact or financial support he was never registered in any way at being at the home i inherited and since sold paid my brother his half and mived into my own property i took out a seperation order after 2 years if i file for divorce now does he have a claim to anything he has never lived at my present address or contributed anything
Kaz - 20-Oct-17 @ 10:00 PM
My husband has been in prison for 12 years, I have wanted to divorce him for a long time but couldnt afford court fees and he keeps saying he wont sign any papers. However Im wondering can I use the 5 year seperation? and do the court send papers to a prison?
Milly - 2-Sep-17 @ 11:55 AM
Hi I've been separated now for 4 years and haven't a clue where my ex is. I want a divorce from him but don't know how I will do this without him being around. His phone number is no longer in use and I have no idea where he is living or anything like that. I just want this over with
Katona - 5-May-17 @ 10:13 AM
My husband and I have been separated for 7 years, he has bipolar and is currently sectioned as he tried to kill himself last week, my family say it is time I divorced him as they say i am legally responsible for him and legally liable for funeral costs, I agree it is time to sever the ties and have spoken to him and he agrees too, can I go ahead with a diy divorce on the grounds of separation or will I run into difficulties due to his current predicament?
Jewels - 15-Apr-17 @ 10:37 AM
I have been married for 26 yrs my husband has cheated on me several times, I threw him out 5 years ago when, after telling him i didn't like him watching porn, granny, father's and daughter, mother's and son, you get the gist, i found him watching it again.After 5 years he's seeing yet another woman.I am filing for divorce but can I name her as co respondent even if we've not been living together for so long ?
Patricia - 9-Feb-17 @ 2:12 PM
I have separate from my ex in 2014 I had not money and asked for legal aid which was not available for me. However I married my ex in Colombia and we came back pregnantto live in the U.K. With him and his family I was submitted to verbal and emotional abuse from him and his family. Now he has applied for the divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour and made a false statement against me on the base I was the one who abuse him. I don't know what to do I have evidence of all his abuse during the last 9 years as I try to seek help but what are my chances of contesting the grounds of the divorce and prove that all of that are lies. Please help with any information that you can give me I would appreciate thanks
Mile - 8-Feb-17 @ 6:42 PM
Jknight1975 - Your Question:
I split up from my wife in 2005 we have no kids together or no financial ties,she contacted in 2009 an said if she sends me divorce papers would I sign. I agreed to do this gave her my address but never received any divorce papers,I have not heard from her since, I was wondering were I stand

Our Response:
You might have to get in touch and ask her directly.
CourtroomAdvice - 8-Feb-17 @ 12:25 PM
I split up from my wife in 2005 we have no kids together or no financial ties,she contactedin 2009 an said if she sends me divorce papers would i sign. i agreed to do this gave her my address but never received any divorce papers, I have not heard from her since, i was wondering were i stand
Jknight1975 - 7-Feb-17 @ 10:58 PM
Hi my partner is wanting to divorce his ex on grounds of her adultery as it was that that ended up with them separating. She is refusing to as she does not want to be named as the one to blame, she is now trying to be funny about things and has said she'll do it if he writes one too, as he is wanting it over and done with and with no fuss, should he or should he fight it out which is going to pricey?
bella - 14-Jan-17 @ 8:12 AM
Hi my husband left me 3 years ago after 2 years of marriage, his left the country last I heard he lives in Canada and has apparently remarried I was never sent divorce papers and we got married abroad. I don't know where to start I have no idea were he is, I really want a divorce but I don't know what type of divorce to apply for. We never legally lived together as we were quite young. What should I do?
Perri - 9-Jan-17 @ 4:53 PM
What I should have wrote was "I don`t accept she wants a divorce on the grounds of adultery".
335 - 31-Dec-16 @ 7:49 AM
I have been with my partner for 15 years and we now want to get married.he was married previously in 1999 and has had no contact with his ex wife since 2001.How do we go about finding out if he is divorced when we have no idea where his ex is and have no contacts with her family or frineds (its been 15 years)
claire1978 - 26-Dec-16 @ 2:57 AM
Bumblebee- Your Question:
Hello, I've been married since 2008. Husband in RAF so away a lot. We have two children 7 and 4. He had affair when I was 5 months pregnant with our youngest. Went to relate etc. He left me for another woman July 2015. They've had a baby. Myself and my children were being evicted from the military home in Wiltshire (as that is where he was posted) No help from husband to find anywhere to live. I ended up moving up to Lincolnshire to live near my sister for support. He is no saying he's divorcing me on grounds of unreasonable behavior. How can he when I've done nothing but try and save my marriage?!

Our Response:
I am very sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, in order to file for a divorce a reason has to be given and there has been an push for a no-fault divorce, as the current system is viewed as outdated for the 21st century. However, the current system still requires the petitioning spouse to list faults of the other person (where no faults may actually even exist). But, this is where the solicitor's make their money, especially if the petition is counter-claimed or denied. I can only suggest you speak to a legal professional regarding this, as much depends upon which stance you wish to take. The reasons your ex may give may not be contentious ones, it's just that if he wishes to file for a divorce, then the court will expect him to come up with some. The court is neither interestsed in the reasons, they are rightly or wrongly simply a requirement made in order for the petition to progress.
CourtroomAdvice - 29-Nov-16 @ 2:32 PM
Hello, I've been married since 2008. Husband in RAF so away a lot. We have two children 7 and 4. He had affair when I was 5 months pregnant with our youngest. Went to relate etc. He left me for another woman July 2015. They've had a baby. Myself and my children were being evicted from the military home in Wiltshire (as that is where he was posted) No help from husband to find anywhere to live. I ended up moving up to Lincolnshire to live near my sister for support. He is no saying he's divorcing me on grounds of unreasonable behavior. How can he when I've done nothing but try and save my marriage?!
Bumblebee - 29-Nov-16 @ 8:53 AM
Hi my husband and me split up 2015 but I want a divorce he keeps saying he's going to do it but never does we have been separated since and I live in poole and he lives up north how do I go about it myself to get it sorted I'm sick and tired of waiting with one excuse after another many thanks cat
Cat - 19-Nov-16 @ 5:37 PM
emerson40 - Your Question:
Me and my partner separated on our anniversary this year 2016 as she claims she no longer cares for me we were married for sixteen years what do I do

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If you are contemplating starting divorce proceedings, please see CAB link here.
CourtroomAdvice - 17-Nov-16 @ 12:30 PM
me and my partner separated on our anniversarythis year 2016 as she claims she no longer cares for me we were married for sixteen years what do I do
emerson40 - 16-Nov-16 @ 11:21 PM
My ex was abusive cheated over 4 affairs that I know of there is a baby to another woman he was contolling I haven't been with him for two years am very frightened of him he already said that he not going to give me a divorce I got no address or phone number but am to scared to ask his family I got learning disabilities please help
Deb - 28-Oct-16 @ 4:58 PM
Dee dee - Your Question:
We have been seperated for 5 year. I have sent divorce papers. My husband denies we have been seperated this long what do I do

Our Response:
Can you prove you have been separated for this amount of time? A utility bill or proof you were resident elsewhere may help.
CourtroomAdvice - 5-Oct-16 @ 12:14 PM
We have been seperated for 5 year. I have sent divorce papers.My husband denies we have been seperated this long what do i do
Dee dee - 4-Oct-16 @ 2:39 PM
My husband left me in April and rented a flat he said he couldn't live with my kids .we have lived separate since then he promised he would still give our marriage his full attention but not under the same roof . We had a row on September 3rd 2016 because I wanted to spend the night with him . He ended our marriage by text the next morning . I've not heard from him since . I want to divorce him what grounds would this come under x thanks so much .
France - 3-Oct-16 @ 8:48 PM
sweetpea- Your Question:
My husband had an affair in May2016 and left. I won't divorce him. He's now divorcing me on grounds of unreasonable behaviour.I presume from the swearing texts I sent him. We have a child aged 16. We have agreed maintenance. Out marital home is being sold and proceeds split Which has already been agreed. Do I need a solicitor if he is divorcing me 0n these grounds. I cannot afford to keep paying for one.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. There are various online informative websites advising on the best options regarding divorce, please see CAB link here.
CourtroomAdvice - 30-Sep-16 @ 2:43 PM
Raz - Your Question:
Me and my wife have separated after 20 years marriage.She has committed adultery at least four times and Because we are joint tenants in a council property.Who has the the rights to the house.

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here which will tell you more.
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Sep-16 @ 2:28 PM
My husband had an affair in May2016 and left. I won'tdivorce him.He's now divorcing me on grounds of unreasonable behaviour..I presume from the swearing texts i sent him.We have a child aged 16.We have agreed maintenance . Out marital home is being sold and proceeds split Which has already been agreed.Do I need a solicitor if he is divorcing me 0n these grounds. I cannot afford to keep paying for one.
sweetpea - 16-Sep-16 @ 1:02 PM
Me and my wife have separated after 20 years marriage. She has committed adultery at least four times and Because we are joint tenants in a council property . Who has the the rights to the house.
Raz - 10-Sep-16 @ 10:58 AM
Rachel- Your Question:
My husband is mentally ill, I ended our marriage nearly a year ago & have a partner who I live with. I have no money for a divorce so need it to be done quickly & cheaply, we don't have any assets to divide, my ex has no contact with the children by his own choice & I don't know where he lives or how to contact him but I'm desperate not to be tied to him in anyway, I really don't want to wait, what can I do ?

Our Response:
If you want to divorce your husband or wife, but don’t know where they are, the court can end the marriage without sending them the divorce petition. Please see gov.uk link here. Also, it offers more generalised advice here. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 15-Aug-16 @ 11:26 AM
My husband is mentally ill, I ended our marriage nearly a year ago & have a partner who I live with. I have no money for a divorce so need it to be done quickly & cheaply, we don't have any assets to divide, my ex has no contact with the children by his own choice & I don't know where he lives or how to contact him but I'm desperate not to be tied to him in anyway, I really don't want to wait, what can I do ?
Rachel - 14-Aug-16 @ 9:27 AM
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