A marriage is much more than the union of a loving couple; it’s a legally-binding contract. Therefore, the end of a marriage is more complicated than a breakup as it’s a legal process. The grounds to get a divorce are a specific list of rules and scenarios that much be achieved before you will be able to end your marriage.
Although the divorce rate in the UK is lower than it has been since the peak of 2003, it’s safe to say that there’s still a lot of people untying the knot. Every divorce is different. Some are relatively hassle-free and quick, whereas others require multiple court hearings to come to a conclusive end. But before the divorce proceedings can even begin, the law states that a couple needs to fit specific criteria.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the grounds for divorce in the UK to give you a clear idea of whether you’re able to apply or not. To successfully apply, you will need to prove that your marriage has broken down. To do so you will need to present evidence that one of the following instances has occurred.
Grounds for Divorce in the UK
Adultery: The UK government recognises adultery in regards to marriage and divorce as having sex with someone else. So, if you can prove that your partner has been unfaithful, you have a valid reason to file for divorce.
It should be noted that you won’t be allowed to give adultery as a reason for divorce if you have been living together for six months after you initially found out about it.
Unreasonable Behaviour: Although many married couples will claim that their husband or wife is behaving unreasonably, that’s not necessarily grounds for divorce. For unreasonable behaviour to be something that the government will accept as grounds for divorce, your partner has to have done at least one of the following:
- Physical violence
- Verbal abuse and threatening behaviour
- Alcoholism or drug addiction
- Refusing to pay a fair share of the household finances
Desertion: If your partner has decided to pack up their stuff and leave, it can be very frustrating if you want to end the marriage. However, desertion is an acceptable reason to file for divorce. You can do so successfully if your former spouse has left without warning, without providing a good reason, or just to end the relationship. If that happens, you can start the divorce process. Also, if they have left you for at least 2 years out of the last 2.5 years, you can claim desertion if you have lived together for a maximum of 6 months during this time.
Separation: Lots of couples opt for separation if they intend to get divorced but aren’t eligible to do so yet. While this does mean that technically they will be a married couple, it does allow them to go their separate ways and get on with their lives individually. A couple who both agree to divorce has to be separated for two years. During this time, they can live in the same house provided they aren’t doing so as a couple.
In cases where one partner doesn’t agree to the divorce and won’t put it in writing, you will have to be separated for longer. Once you have been apart for at least five years, the divorce can go ahead regardless of if they agree or not.
Do any of the grounds for divorce apply to your marital situation? If so, KMJ Solicitors can help you advise and guide you through the entire divorce process to ensure the best possible resolution for you and your family. Get in touch today to schedule your FREE no-obligation consultation.