In order to obtain a divorce, family law requires the petitioner to prove to the court that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. There are five grounds in family law that prove a marriage has irretrievably broken down. These five grounds for divorce are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation for two years with consent and separation for five years without consent.
Adultery is one of the most common grounds for divorce in the UK. In order to obtain a divorce on this ground, the petitioner must prove to the court that sexual relations took place between their spouse and a third party of the opposite sex. Interestingly, family law states that the third party must be of the opposite sex. In addition, the petitioner must show that their spouseís infidelity means they find them intolerable to live with anymore. Adultery is a ground for immediate divorce and in order to use it the petition must be filed within six months of the most recent adulterous act.
Unreasonable behaviour also is a common ground for divorce. In order for the court to grant a divorce on this ground, the petitioner must not only show that the behaviour of their spouse was unreasonable but that the behaviour is such that it is not reasonable to expect them to continue living with their spouse. A divorce solicitor will be able to advise their client on whether certain behaviour will be considered unreasonable by the court. If a spouse has an affair with a third party of the same sex this will count as unreasonable behaviour.
The third ground of desertion requires the spouse of the petitioner to have deserted them for two or more years. Desertion means leaving the petitioner and any children from the marriage without a valid reason or the agreement of the petitioner. To prove desertion the petitioner must show that their spouse no longer lives with them and that their own behaviour did not cause their spouse to leave.
Separation for two years with consent means that the parties have been separated for two years or more and that they both consent to the divorce. In order to be separated, the parties must not live in the same household. Separation for five years without consent is grounds for divorce as if a couple has been separated for five years the other party is not required to consent to the divorce.
It is highly advisable for a petitioner to seek advice from family solicitors specialising in divorce to determine the best ground for divorce in their case.