The official grounds for divorce process

Private client team with Natalie Thomas - Associate Director - DJM Solicitors

To get divorced, you need to show that you have suffered an irretrievable marriage breakdown. You do this on the basis of one of five ‘facts’ – the official grounds for divorce

You must also have been married for at least a year. If you have been married for less than a year, you can separate instead or in some cases apply for an annulment.

Similar rules apply for ending a registered civil partnership. If you are simply cohabiting, there is no legal barrier to separation. It can happen as and when either partner wishes.

Grounds for divorce

    Whatever your own reasons for divorce, you can currently only petition for a divorce on the basis of one of five facts:

Adultery: Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue living with him or her. You can name the ‘co-respondent’ (the third party involved in the adultery) but it is not necessary – and is likely to increase emotional tension and legal costs.

Unreasonable behaviour: Your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour makes it intolerable for you to continue living together. Unreasonable behaviour can include domestic abuse, infidelity (other than full adultery) or persistent unpleasantness. This is the most common basis for divorce.

Desertion: Your spouse deserted you against your will, and you have been living apart for at least two years.

Two years’ separation: You have been separated for at least two years, and you both agree to the divorce. In principle, you can be separated while still living under the same roof – provided you live independent lives (eg: you do not live together or share household chores). You can also have lived together for up to six months during the period of separation, though any time living together will not count towards the two years.

Five years’ separation: You have been sep-arated for at least five years.

As long as you both agree to the divorce, the divorce process involves filing the appro-priate forms with the court (along with court fees).

From Autumn 2021 (or perhaps later), divorce law will change. Divorce will be on a ‘no-fault’ basis, to encourage amicable proceedings.

The whole divorce process will become much simpler and easier.

Should you require further advice in respect of divorce process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

DJM Solicitors. 16 Axis Court, Mallard Way, Swansea Vale, Swansea SA7 0AJ

T: 01792 650000

Chelston House, 103 Newton Rd, Mumbles, Swansea SA3 4BN

T: 01792 304090


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