What are the Grounds to a Divorce?

Saturday Nov 12, 2016 Divorce

Questions often swirl around how one can get a quick, easy divorce and on what basis. Unfortunately we don’t live in America whereby neither partner has to hold their hands up accountable for the breakdown of the marriage and can apply under the merit of ‘No Fault’. No, instead we live in the UK where quite simply, someone, somehow needs to take the brunt of the blame.


If both parties are agreeable to the divorce and there are no contested issues on that then there is absolutely no point in spending time [or money contentiously discussing who should “take the blame”, in essence all it is, is a paper work exercise and the facts in which the divorce is based will not be held against you or any of your possible other family law cases – this includes financial issues or childcare matters. Many individuals unfortunately become consumed with what the facts of their divorce will be. I’m here to tell you, don’t. Want a quick divorce? Want a cheap divorce? Don’t get emotionally involved in the divorce. Ok, ok, easier said than done, but major tip alert, use the money on a holiday instead, something productive and get rid of the dead weight in your life in some easy steps...

Before you start your divorce you have to meet a few criteria’s.

  1. Have you been married for 12 months or more? If yes, move forward, if no, sorry you have to remain legally married until you have been so for 365 days. No, don’t ask again, there’s nothing anyone can do about this
  2. Are both of you domiciled in the UK? If yes, move forward, if no, then you may have an issue of contention and would be best to opt it for legal advice

The ground that one has to first declare to the Court is that their marriage has now irretrievably broken down, basically, that the marriage is beyond repair! Following that you will be asked to base your divorce on one of the five following facts:

  1. Adultery

Quite simply, has your partner cheated on you with another person of the opposite sex? The adulterer in question really ought to be in a position to admit the adultery for the divorce to be based on this fact, you can have all the evidence in the world, photos, texts however if they do not admit to it within the divorce papers you may have to go to Court on the matter which will no doubt prolong the case and bring the costs of the divorce to an unnecessary amount – as well as of course, cause you more pain and suffering than you have already had in this marriage!

  1. Unreasonable Behaviour

This is probably without a doubt the most commonly used fact in divorce proceedings. You will be asked within your divorce application to explain why your partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them anymore. This fact covers a whole range of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ conducted during the marriage [not before] as the focus is upon what YOU consider to be unreasonable. You are encouraged to sum up this behaviour in a few short paragraphs. It’s always advised to keep these diminutive and not as an opportunity to air all your grievances against your spouse. They at the end of the day still have to read and agree to what has been written about them!

  1. Desertion

You can base your divorce on this fact if your partner has literally deserted you without reason or agreement for a period of more than two years [no less!]. With all divorce applications the papers need to be served on your partner for them to agree on the ground and facts. Obviously if your partner has deserted you this is going to make matters a little tough due to the mere fact you have no clue where they are!?! The Court may ask that you ask family and friends and make an application to the department of work and pensions for their current address to be disclosed so that you can at least show you have made every effort in order to locate them. If your partner still fails to come out of the wood work then there are applications you can make to ‘dispense with service’ of the documents on your missing spouse. Lawgap DIY packs contain all the info you need on this.

  1. 2 Years Separation [WITH CONSENT]

To base the fact of your divorce under this you must have lived separately from your spouse for 2 years or mor. If you have lived in the same house you have to at least show you have lived completely independent lives from each other and have literally just shared the same roof. No cooking, cleaning or assisting each other would be considered as living separate lives and certainly not if you are still sharing a bedroom.

This is often an easy non contentious fact to rely on if both parties are in agreement with the divorce. It is important to note that there is no way of progressing your divorce on this fact if your spouse does not agree to the divorce. Your spouse may not agree to the divorce under the other facts mentioned in this blog but there would still be ways of obtaining that final divorce paper – so be sure you are both on the same page i you pick this one!

  1. Five Years Separation

This would be where you and your spouse have been living separately for five years or more. Your spouse does not necessarily have to agree to the divorce being based upon this fact however like with any of the above it sure does help speed the process up.

Divorce is no doubt a rollercoaster of emotion that brings out the worse in many; fighting spouses are consumed with vengeance and venom. If both parties are both agreeable to the divorce and there are no major assets in dispute there is no reason why the matter should ever become so heated. The easier parties agree to work together to end the marriage cordially the quicker you will both be living your new independent stress free lives.

Now you know what to base your divorce on, what are you waiting for?