Grounds For Divorce

There is only one ground for divorce under English Law and that is irretrievable break down of marriage. The Petitioner has to prove to the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and he or she can do that by relying on one of five different facts, that the Respondent (the other party to the divorce) has behaved unreasonably, has committed adultery, has deserted the Petitioner for more than two years, or that the Petitioner and the Respondent have lived apart for more than two years and the Respondent gives consent to the divorce, or that the Petitioner and Respondent have lived apart for more than five years.

The Petitioner, who is the person starting the divorce, must prove to the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  A Petition cannot be presented to the Court until the parties have been married for at least one year.

If the Petitioner is relying upon her husband/wife’s unreasonable behaviour to prove the marriage has irretrievably broken down he or she will have to give details in the Petition of that behaviour.  The Petitioner does not have to provide independent evidence to support the statement in the Divorce Petition.  If the Respondent (the other party to the divorce) chooses not to defend the divorce, the divorce will proceed if the Judge is satisfied that the Respondent has indeed behaved unreasonably.

Many couples who have been separated for more than two years prefer to petition for divorce relying on the fact that they have lived apart for the at period time to prove the at their marriage has irretrievably broken down.  In these cases they are often known as “no fault divorces” because the Petitioner does not have to blame the Respondent for behaving unreasonably or for committing adultery and can rely simply on the fact that the marriage is over because they have lived apart for more than two years. The Respondent will have to give his consent to the divorce however but if a Petition for divorce is presented to the Court on the basis that the parties have lived apart for more than five years, the Respondent’s consent is not necessary.

Many couples decide to separate and choose not to divorce until they have lived apart for a period of time.  This is perfectly acceptable if it suits both parties.  If however one party is anxious to dissolve the marriage, and the other party has behaved unreasonably or committed adultery, the a Petition for divorce can be presented at any time i.e. before the parties have lived apart for any set period of time.

If you would like an initial, free no obligation chat over the telephone we can arrange for one of our solicitors to be available at a time to suit you. Please contact us on 01536 276314 to arrange this.

Latest Family Law Video

Sarah Chan - Seatons Solicitors

Family Law Specialists

Hello, I am Sarah Chan and I am the Head of Seatons Solicitors Family Law Department in Corby, Northamptonshire.

We aim to provide our clients with an outstanding legal service. We will help and support you and most importantly we work hard for you.

Please contact us at either our Corby office on 01536 276300 or our Kettering office on 01536 311690 or contact us online

Latest Articles About Family Law

Interim Maintenance in Divorce Proceedings – Court of Appeal Gives Guidance

A divorce can take some considerable time and that is why judges have the power to make interim maintenance awards to bridge the gap.

Transatlantic Child Maintenance Storm Breaks Over One-Day Old Baby

Some relationships do not survive the prospect of impending parenthood and can result in children being born into the teeth of a legal storm...

Given a Raw Deal by a Divorce Judge? Take Action Now.

Many divorcees feel that judges have given them a raw deal when dividing up marital assets and it is fair to challenge the decision.

Emergency COVID-19 Legislation – Judges Crack the Democratic Whip

Wide-ranging legislative changes that would normally require months, even years, of consultation were rushed through in a matter of days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covid19 Information

WE ARE STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS HOWEVER, OUR FRONT DOORS WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. For us all to be as safe as possible, our preference will be to interact with clients by telephone, email and/or zoom meetings ONLY. We would ask that if you have to drop any papers off at our offices, you use our Post Box unless you need anything copying, in those cases please knock the door and one of our receptionists will deal with you at the front door but only if you are wearing protective face coverings. If you require further assistance then a member from the relevant department will telephone you thereafter to discuss. We hope you understand that this is to safeguard you, our staff and to limit as much contact as possible. We may take a little longer to respond to enquiries and deal with matters. Please bear with us. FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW.