There is only one ground for a divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This has to be supported by one of the following five circumstances:
- The other spouse has committed adultery
- The other spouse’s unreasonable behaviour
- One spouse has deserted the other for 2 Years
- Both spouses have lived apart for 2 years and the other spouse consents to a divorce
- Both spouses have lived apart for more than 5 Years
Adultery requires proof, usually a signed admission or admission on the form of acknowledgement of the petition returned to the court.
Unreasonable behaviour can be anything which causes the petitioning spouse to believe that it has caused the breakdown of the marriage. It is a subjective test but must appear sufficiently serious to have done so.
Five years separation does not require consent but can be defended if it might cause the other party financial hardship, so the matrimonial finances will first need to be agreed and a court order made before the decree absolute can be granted. Before a petition for divorce is issued we attempt to agree the content so as to avoid animosity and so minimise potential conflict which might have an adverse impact on the children and financial issues.
The divorce process can take as little as six months, as long as it is undefended and the financial claims have been agreed and a court order made but usually take longer. The decree absolute may be put on hold until there is a final financial order because, for example, there has been no agreement or an application to the court has not be finalised or divorce will affect a divorced spouse’s rights to the other spouse’s pension and a financial order is needed.