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Family Matters

What are the legal grounds for divorce?

There is only one legal ground for divorce, that “the marriage has broken down irretrievably”, which must be proved by one of five facts. A person can petition for a divorce after one year of marriage but three of the five facts upon which a divorce must be based require a separation period of at least 2 years. If this does not apply or you want a divorce sooner, the facts that can be relied upon are “adultery” by a spouse or their “unreasonable behaviour”.

Once spouses have been separated for two years, a divorce can be applied for if both parties consent. Without consent, it will be necessary to wait for 5 years. The remaining fact upon which a divorce can be based is if your spouse has deserted you for a period of more than two years.

For more information about changes to the grounds for divorce, read about new divorce rules coming into force in 2021.

Our family team can offer help and advice regarding all aspects of the divorce process including help with financial and child contact issues. We offer an initial advice appointment with one of our family lawyers for a fixed fee of just £150+VAT.
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