2. Grounds for divorce

You must show there are good reasons for ending your marriage. You can give 5 grounds for a divorce.

Adultery

Your husband or wife had sex with someone else of the opposite sex, and you can no longer bear to live with them.

You can’t give adultery as a reason if you lived with your husband or wife for 6 months after you found out about it.

Unreasonable behaviour

Your husband or wife behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them.

This could include:

  • physical violence
  • verbal abuse, eg insults or threats
  • drunkenness or drug-taking
  • refusing to pay for housekeeping

Desertion

Your husband or wife has left you:

  • without your agreement
  • without a good reason
  • to end your relationship
  • for more than 2 years in the past 2½ years

You can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to a total of 6 months in this period.

You have lived apart for more than 2 years

You can get a divorce if you’ve lived apart for more than 2 years and both agree to the divorce.

Your husband or wife must agree in writing.

You have lived apart for more than 5 years

Living apart for more than 5 years is usually enough to get a divorce, even if your husband or wife disagrees with the divorce.

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