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JR Jones Solicitors Birmingham
solicitors Birmingham

The Grounds for Divorce

In England, to obtain a divorce you have to show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. You must prove one of the fivecontact us following facts as defined in law, these are the legal grounds for divorce.

Your solicitor will help you to decide on the most suitable grounds for your divorce.

1. Adultery

Your spouse had sex with someone else of the opposite sex, and you can no longer bear to live with them because of it. Your spouse must either admit to adultery or you must be able to provide enough circumstantial evidence to prove the adultery.

You cannot give adultery as the reason for divorce if you continued to live with your spouse for 6 months after you found out about it.

Similarly, you cannot ask for a divorce on the basis of your own adultery. If this is in fact what happened, then you need to either state a different grounds for divorce, or your spouse must petition for the divorce on the basis of your adultery.

2. Unreasonable behaviour

Your spouse behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them. This is the most commonly used grounds for divorce as it can cover a wide range of behaviour.

Examples of this could include:

  • Physical violence
  • Verbal abuse, such as insults or threats
  • Drug-taking
  • Excessive drunkenness
  • Financial irresponsibility

The Courts do not require the allegations of unreasonable behaviour to be particularly serious as long as you can show that you cannot be expected to continue living with the behaviour in question.

In some cases it can be easier to use mild allegations against your spouse in order to reach agreement with them and move the process forwards quickly, rather than them contesting the allegations.

3. Desertion

Your spouse has left you:

  • Without your agreement
  • Without a good reason
  • To end your relationship
  • For more than 2 years in the past 2½ years

You can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to a total of 6 months in this period.

4. You have lived apart for more than 2 years – with consent for the divorce

You can get a divorce if you’ve lived apart for more than 2 years and both agree to the divorce.

Your spouse must agree in writing.

5. You have lived apart for more than 5 years – without consent for the divorce

Living apart for more than 5 years is usually enough to get a divorce, even if your spouse disagrees with the divorce.

Please contact us for more information or to arrange a consultation.