In England and Wales, a divorce will only be granted if your marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’. To prove this is the case, you must be able to establish the reasons your marriage has ended. There are five possible grounds for divorce that a court will accept. These are known as the facts of divorce, and include the following:-

1. Adultery

If your husband or wife has had sexual relations with someone of the opposite sex, the court will agree your marriage has irretrievably broken down.

2. Unreasonable behaviour

If your husband or wife acts in such a way that you can no longer live together, you may use the fact of unreasonable behaviour. ‘Unreasonable behaviour’ can cover a wide variety of conduct, including verbal or physical abuse, a lack of attention or affection, and a failure to provide financial support.

3. Desertion

If your husband or wife has left you without good reason or without your agreement, then this will amount to desertion.

4. Two year separation (and you both agree)

If you have been living separately for two years of more, you may use this as a ground for divorce. However, you must both agree to divorce.

5. Five year separation

Alternatively, if your husband or wife does not agree to divorce, you can wait until you have lived separately for five years. After this, you do not need your ex-spouse’s consent.

When you decide upon the facts you are going to use, you will be able to file a divorce petition. However, it is important to remember that you will have to provide evidence, verifying your reasons for divorce. For example, if you are filing for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, you may use witnesses or a doctor’s report as evidence.

Do you have grounds for divorce?

To find out whether you have the ground for divorce, you need to speak to a legal expert. A family lawyer will be able to use their knowledge and expertise to suggest what facts you may use.

If possible, you should try to agree with your husband or wife upon the facts you are going to use. This will make your divorce much more cost-effective, both in terms of time and money. However, if the divorce is contested (ie. your husband or wife disagrees with the facts) then you may have to attend a hearing. This means it will up to the court to decide whether or not to grant your divorce.

Contact a family lawyer today

If you would like to speak to a divorce solicitor about the options available to you, contact us today. We will explain your legal situation in more detail, helping you through this difficult time.

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