In England and Wales divorce is granted on the basis of irretrievable marital breakdown. There are five reasons for getting divorced which can be cited as evidence of this breakdown. But it's not always that simple, a free, no obligation consultation with an local expert Divorce solicitor would be a good idea.
One principle of divorce and five reasons to justify relationship breakdown
In England and Wales divorce is granted on the basis of irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. A divorce can be granted on the basis of any of the following:
- unreasonable behaviour
- two years separation with consent
- five years separation without consent
The sixth and most important reason for getting divorced
Let’s not forget the final and most popular reason for getting a divorce - "I got got bored", "I met somebody else", "He was not making enough money." Your solicitor will not offer any of these as gounds for divorce. However, they are very common and just as valid a justification as the five others.
The courts are not really interested in why you want to get divorced
The reason for your divorce is not something the courts are really interested in. Therefore, the best strategy is to state 'unreasonable behaviour' as the reason and if necessary embellish or invent evidence to support this. The court will not challenge the truth or otherwise of your allegations. Whatever grounds for divorce are cited, a judge or a court really does not care who did what or who said what. However justified one party may feel about the appalling conduct of the other it makes no difference to the outcome. Divorce is only about children and money not about who is to blame.
In practice nearly all divorces will be granted under the first two of the above because no waiting period is involved and let’s face it, if one member of a couple has decided they no longer wish to be married to the other then it is probably better to get things done and dusted without too much delay and (hopefully) the minimum of acrimony.
If someone wants a divorce, they will be granted a divorce. Any reasons given will have no effect on the outcome and none at all on the two main issues which are at the heart of most divorces – money and children. The financial implications of divorce and the financial responsibility for children of a divorcing couple are dealt with separately from the actual divorce and using other criteria as are any other arrangements for offspring such as where they will live.
Defending a divorce
Defending a divorce is very rare. If one partner in a marriage - the petitioner - has decided that they no longer wish to stay within the union then that is usually a pretty clear indication of serious relationship breakdown. If one member of a marriage decides that they want to get a divorce then it would be a pointless exercise to try to make a couple stay together or to make it unnecessarily difficult for them to obtain one.
As long as the criteria laid down by law are fulfilled, then a divorce will be granted on whatever grounds are presented as evidence of complete relationship breakdown.
Additionally, if the person being divorced - the respondent - is dependent on legal aid to help pay the cost of proceedings, he/she will be unable to issue a petition of their own. In fact, a solicitor will very rarely advise defending a divorce and issuing a cross petition unless it is advantageous to do so.
An excellent Self Help Kit for separation and divorce is available from Lawpack containing expert information and instructions for managing your own divorce. Very useful if you are contemplating getting divorced and don't want to spend a fortune doing so.