What are the grounds for divorce? And do they matter?

There are officially five grounds for divorce in the UK.  Most divorces are brought because of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage through the "unreasonable behaviour" of the husband or wife. You will not have to prove that this unreasonable behaviour has taken place.

The five grounds for divorce are:two wedding rings one broken

Unreasonable behaviour
Two years separation with consent
Five years separation without consent

"I know one husband and wife who, whatever the official reasons given to the court for the break up of their marriage, were really divorced because the husband believed that nobody ought to read while he was talking and the wife that nobody ought to talk while she was reading."  Vera Brittain (writer, pacifist and feminist) 

Divorce on demand
However, it is true to say that divorce is effectively available on demand.  This can be achieved by stating 'unreasonable behaviour' as your reason for wanting a divorce.  You will never have to prove that your spouse's behaviour was unreasonable, you only need to make credible accusations.  These will not need to be proved and will rarely be even challenged.  The Courts are not interested in the truth of your allegations they are only concerned with the future of your children and the division of the family assets.

Having the right legal advice even before the divorce process begins is vital. A lawyer will be able to tell you how the whole rather complex process works so you can have a good overview before you start. It's important to use a Family Law solicitor as you need their specialist knowledge and experience.  However, if your divorce is already agreed between you so there is nothing to contest then online divorce is a good option. 

The things that matter 
There are only two things that really matter when one, or both, partners decide to get divorced, these are children first and then the money.  Financial responsibility for children of a marriage and where they will live must be a priority, and the financial settlement after divorce for both parties will need careful consideration and negotiation. If you are concerned about the financial situation you may face during or after your divorce, we can help you to find a local IFA to give you expert financial advice.

Most divorces take place when a couple have been married for between ten and fifteen years – the length of the average marriage is now only eleven years. Divorce is unusual during the first five years of marriage and if husband and wife can get past the twenty year mark then they will, more than likely, reach the till death us do part scenario.

The most popular grounds for divorce
The grounds for getting divorced can be as major as adultery or addictive behaviour or, as seemingly minor as abandoning dirty cups on tables and floors or never putting dirty Calvin Kleins or Sloggis in the laundry basket.  It is often the slow drip, drip, dripping of small daily irritations over a number of years that result in one half of a married pair paying a visit to their solicitor.  Once they get to the office best advice is to quote unreasonable behaviour as their explanation for issuing a divorce petition.

Unreasonable behaviour
Here in divorce land we have heard some shocking and downright trivial reasons cited under the heading unreasonable behaviour but are they actually true?  And will it make a difference if they are not?  Not really you will not have to prove that your spouse behaved unreasonably just make the accusation sound plausible and genuine.

No court or judge is going to refuse to give someone a divorce because the law in this country recognises that there is no point trying to keep two people in a marriage when at least one of them wishes to leave.

Honesty might be a good idea
Maybe it is time people were more honest.  To tell you the truth I just got bored. We are not having sex and we have nothing interesting to say to each other any more.”  Why not?  Successful marriages – and let’s remember that there are still more successful ones than unsuccessful ones (although only just!) – take a lot of effort from both sides and perhaps in today's "I want it all and I want it now" society we have lost the will or no longer see the need to try and keep trying to make a marriage work.  Maybe we give up too easily.

sep_and_div.jpgThere is an excellent guide for anyone thinking about getting separated or divorced and who don't want to spend a huge amount of money getting themselves out of a marriage.  It contains everything you need to know about managing your own divorce without the need for expensive solicitors.

Follow Us

Back to top