What are the Grounds for Divorce in England?

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A divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is a legal action undertaken between two people to terminate the marriage relationship. As with any legal action, there is a standard process and conditions you must meet to complete this. Part of this process is proving that the marriage has ‘irretrievably’ broken down. That is, it cannot be saved and there is no other choice but to terminate the marriage.

If you’re considering divorce, it’s important to be aware of the grounds, or ‘facts’, for divorce. A Petitioner must provide one (or more) of these facts, with supporting evidence, to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. In this article, we’ll explore the 5 grounds for divorce, and look at other conditions that need to be met to qualify for a divorce.

Do You and Your Partner Qualify for a Divorce?

Before you even consider the grounds for divorce, the UK government specifies that you must meet all of the following requirements in order to apply:

  • You must have been married for at least one year
  • Your relationship have permanently broken down
  • Your marriage must be legally recognised in the UK
  • The UK must be the permanent home of either you or your spouse

If you find that you don’t qualify for a divorce based on this criteria, you may still be eligible to annul your marriage or apply for legal separation.

What are the Grounds For Divorce?

Once you have met the requirements discussed above, you will then be expected to prove that your relationship meets at least one or more of the grounds for divorce. The grounds for divorce are what the UK courts warrant to be legitimate reasons for you to want one. The current grounds for divorce in the UK are as follows:

Adultery
To get divorced on the basis of adultery, your husband or wife must have had sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex during your marriage. However, this does not apply if you have proceeded to live together for over 6 months after finding out about it.

Unreasonable Behaviour
For this clause to be met, your husband or wife must have behaved in such a way that you can’t be expected to live with them. Some, but not all, examples of this could be physical violence, drunkenness, drug taking and refusing to pay towards shared living expenses.

Desertion
You can apply for a divorce on the grounds of desertion if your husband or wife has left you for at least two years before applying. It’s important to note that you can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to six months during this time. However, it won’t count towards the two years.

You’ve Been Separated For At Least Two Years
If you can prove that you’ve been separated for at least two years, you can apply for divorce on these grounds. However, you and your partner must agree to this in writing. If you’ve been living together, you may still be able to get divorced on these grounds. However, you’ll need to prove that you’ve not been living together as a couple. This could mean that you have evidence to show that you’ve been sleeping and eating separately.

You’ve Been Separated For At Least Five Years
Finally, if you’ve been separated for five years, you can apply for a divorce without the agreement of your husband or wife.

How Can Salmons Solicitors Help With My Divorce?

Here at Salmons Solicitors, we have an expert team that specialises in all aspects of family law.. Therefore, our team is well prepared to answer any of your questions regarding divorce. Our team strives to provide our clients with the best experience possible, so get in touch.

We also believe in offering our clients every option available to them. Divorce isn’t the only option when things aren’t going well in your relationship, and our team will walk you through every option before you make a decision. At your request, our friendly team is also happy to meet at a venue that’s local and convenient to you, or offer zoom or telephone appointments. Fixed fees are available.

For any more information, our guides on how to get a divorce and the divorce process are here to support you, along with our expert services. With fixed legal fees and a high level of expertise, Salmons Solicitors can guarantee a professional, friendly and personal service, regardless of your circumstances.