The breakdown of a relationship is a stressful, emotional time and the process can be much more complicated if you’re married. The decision to get divorced is rarely an easy one but it’s important to be aware of all the rules and regulations before you apply. To get a divorce, you’ll need to prove that your marriage has broken down and cannot be saved.
In England or Wales, you can apply for a divorce if you’ve been married for over a year and if you can prove one or more grounds for divorce (also known as ‘facts’). If you’re thinking about divorce and want to know more about the process, see below to find out more about the different grounds for divorce.
Adultery occurs if your husband or wife has sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex. However, you cannot list adultery as the reason for divorce if you lived together as a couple for more than six months after you found out about it.
This reason is quite broad and you can list it if your spouse has behaved in any way which means it would be unreasonable to carry on living with them. This could include physical abuse, emotional/verbal abuse, excessive drinking or drug taking, or refusal to pay towards shared living expenses.
Desertion occurs if your husband or wife has abandoned you without your consent (i.e you haven’t agreed to divorce or separate) for at least two years. You can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to a total of 6 months in this period, but that will not count towards the 2 years.
Separated for at least two years
You can apply for divorce if you’ve been separated for at least two years, but both parties need to agree. Your husband or wife must agree to the divorce in writing. You can still apply for divorce if you live together but not as a couple (e.g sleeping and eating apart).
Separated for at least five years
If you’ve been separated for at least five years you can apply for divorce, even if your spouse doesn’t agree. You can go ahead and file for divorce without needing their permission. However, you cannot get divorced without your spouse’s knowledge; you’ll still need their address so they can receive a copy of the divorce petition.
If you’re thinking about divorce, get specialist advice from the experts at Richards & Lewis. Our team of divorce lawyers are on hand to guide you through the process and deal with any potential issues that might arise. We can help you split your assets, give advice on settlements and maintenance and help you get the outcome you deserve, so give us a call today or contact us online.