In this article, we’ll explain the reasons for divorce that can be used in England and Wales and discuss when it may be appropriate to use them.
In order to get a divorce, you will have to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.
When making the application for divorce, you will need to provide one or more of 5 possible reasons for divorce.
Unreasonable behaviour is the most commonly used ground for divorce in England and Wales, according to the latest ONS data.
In order to use this as grounds for divorce, you will need to prove that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.
There is no list of what constitutes unreasonable behaviour. Examples of unreasonable behaviour could include a spouse regularly getting drunk or refusing to pay towards the housekeeping.
If your spouse has had sexual intercourse with another person of the opposite sex, you may choose this as your reason for divorce. Note that this is sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex only; if your spouse had sex with someone who is the same gender as them, the law would not recognise this as adultery.
What’s more, if you and your spouse continued to live together as a couple for more than 6 months following your discovery of the adultery, you will be unable to use this as a reason for divorce.
If you and your spouse both agree to the divorce and you have been separated for a minimum of 2 years, you can use this as a ground for divorce.
If you have been separated for a minimum of 5 years, you can apply for a divorce citing this as the reason, even if your spouse does not agree.
You will need to show that your spouse has left you for at least 2 years in the last 2.5 years.
While important, reasons for divorce are not the only thing you need to understand before you apply for a divorce.
For example, you will need to have been married for at least 1 year in order to get a divorce in England and Wales. Even if you can prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and can provide one or more reasons for divorce, you cannot get a divorce until this time period has passed.
It’s always best to get independent legal advice from a solicitor, before choosing one or more of your reasons for divorce. A solicitor will be able to advise you which reasons for divorce are most suitable for your circumstances.
Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to divorce, including:
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