Grounds for Divorce – 5 Things You Need To Know

GroundsForDivorceThink you may have grounds for divorce? There are five reasons for the breakdown of marriage or civil partnership you can rely on:

1. Adultery 
2. Unreasonable Behaviour  
3. Desertion 
4. Two Years Separation With Consent 
5. Five Years Separation Without consent

But read on because there are different rules for each reason …

1. Adultery

Adultery is sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.

If you are still living together, make sure you start your divorce or dissolution within six months of discovering the adultery. The third party (the “co-respondent”) is rarely named as little can be achieved.

Controversially adultery can only be with a member of the opposite sex. If you are in a same sex marriage or civil partnership, you will have to rely on unreasonable behaviour instead.

2. Unreasonable Behaviour

This is behaviour which you think is unreasonable. This can be very serious behaviour such as violence or other form of domestic abuse. Or it might be that your other half shows no interest in you, is unsupportive, or spends all their time at work.

But please take care. In the unlikely event your other half defends the divorce there can be problems if the Court doesn’t consider the behaviour serious enough. If you have any doubts at all take expert legal advice. See our post “Why You Need A Family Lawyer To Check Your DIY Divorce Petition”.

Timing is important. The unreasonable behaviour needs to have been within the last six months if you are still living together. Or perhaps the behaviour is continuing? In which case, timing is not a problem.

3. Desertion

A rarely used ground. Desertion is when your other half leaves you for two years without your agreement, and for no good reason other than to end the relationship. This doesn’t have to be a continuous period but must be within the last two and a half years. Up to six months of resumed living together doesn’t count.

4. Two Years Separation with Consent

Here there’s no blame. But patience is required as you will need to live apart for two years. You also need to know that your other half will definitely sign to say they agree to the divorce.

5. Five Years Separation without Consent

Another rarely used ground. If you have lived apart for five years and your other half doesn’t agree to a divorce, this is the reason you can rely on.

Contact Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on the grounds for divorce. In this 20 minute session we will:

  • Discuss with you what’s been going wrong
  • Advise you of the most suitable wording for your divorce petition
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JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families.

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The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

image: Tough Decision by Alex on Wikimedia Commons

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