Grounds for divorce

Going through a divorce, or separation, is one of the most stressful activities that you can possibly undertake.

Grounds for divorce

In order to get a divorce you need to show why your marriage is coming to an end in a full and final way. In legal terms, these are what are called the grounds for divorce. These are the only circumstances under which a divorce can be granted. It is useful to know what these grounds are, as there are other forms of separation which may be more suitable other than a divorce. We can discuss these other forms with you.

Unreasonable behaviour: the main types

This is defined in the law as very bad behaviour, such that it is no longer possible for you to live with them. You could not bear to live with such behaviour. One form of unreasonable behaviour is called physical violence. If your partner has physically attacked, or assaulted you (and if that counts as physical violence legally) then you have grounds for a divorce. A related ground for divorce is that your partner has made insults or threats against you. This counts as verbal abuse and is a very damaging form of abuse, taken seriously by the courts.

Another form of unreasonable behaviour involves forms of addiction. If your partner is often drunk, and abusing alcohol, then it is not reasonable for you to live with them and you may be able to get a divorce. Drug taking also counts as unreasonable behaviour. Often the two may be linked and you may find that this compounds the grounds for divorce.

Finally, if a partner is not giving money for housekeeping then this could count as a reason for divorce. This is a form of unreasonable behaviour which is understood by the courts.

The list above is not an exhaustive list of examples of unreasonable behaviour and there may be many other cases which can be classed under this definition. It is best to consult with us for legal advice.

Sexual relations (Adultery)

This is defined as where your husband or wife has had relations, which should be classed by the court as sexual, with a person of the opposite sex. A non-sexual, emotional, affair is not grounds for adultery. Adultery is not the only factor involved in this case, but it must mean that as a result of this you simply can not bear to live with them any longer. Therefore, the relationship is now not acceptable to you. Adultery is, however, limited by time. If you found out about the adultery but then continued to live with your partner for six months after that then you can not class adultery as a reason. If you yourself have committed adultery then that alone is not grounds for divorce. There are, then, very specific considerations for adultery.

Desertion and living apart

Desertion is a ground for divorce. If your husband or wife has left you and it is without your agreement, good reason, for more than two years in the last two and a half years or two end your relationship then this must count as desertion. If you and your partner have not lived together for the last five years then this is also a ground for divorce.