2. Grounds for divorce

When you apply for a divorce you’ll need to prove that your marriage has broken down. You’ll need to give one of the following 5 reasons.

Adultery

Your husband or wife had sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex.

The law recognises the act of adultery as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.

You can’t give adultery as a reason if you lived together as a couple for 6 months after you found out about it.

Unreasonable behaviour

Your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.

This could include:

  • physical violence
  • verbal abuse, such as 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 2.5 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

You can usually get a divorce if you’ve lived apart for more than 5 years, even if your husband or wife disagrees.