Divorce - the different grounds or reasons for divorce

You need to show that you have been married for more than 12 months and that the marriage has broken down. To show that the marriage has broken down you need to show one of the following:

Your partner has committed Adultery

You do not need to know the identity of the person your partner has slept with and you do not need to name them on the Divorce Petition. However, if your partner denies the adultery then you may have to prove it. This can be very difficult and for this reason divorce petitions based on this ground do not always succeed.

Your partner has behaved unreasonably

You will need to give examples in the divorce petition about your partner's behaviour and how this has upset you and made it difficult for you to carry on living with them.
You can use adultery as an example of unreasonable behaviour without the need to prove the adultery. This may be better than relying on adultery as the only ground.
If your partner does not agree with the allegations he or she may want to defend the divorce and put in their own divorce petition. You can settle this either by deciding between you what allegations to put in and what to leave out or if your partner puts in his own petition you can agree to get a divorce based on both petitions. This is known as "Cross Decrees".

You and your partner have been separated for at least 2 years before you started divorce proceedings

However your partner has to agree to a divorce, if they do not agree you cannot use this ground. You will need to put the date of the separation on the divorce "Petition" and state briefly the reason for the separation, for example "incompatibility". If you do not know the exact date of the separation an approximate date will do, as long as it can clearly be shown that 2 years have passed.

You and your partner have been separated for at least 5 years before you started divorce proceedings

You do not need your partner's consent for this ground. This ground is therefore useful if you know your partner is going to be difficult about the divorce or if your partner has disappeared and you do not know where he or she is. Again you will need to give details of the date of the separation and brief reasons why you separated.

Your partner has deserted you for at least 2 years before you started the divorce

Again you will have to supply a date on the Petition.
You will need to show when your partner left you and that you have not heard from your partner since that date.

Which form do I need to start a divorce?

Relationships & Family Law