I do… to I’m done!

First comes love, then comes marriage then comes divorce. This pattern is becoming increasingly popular within the UK!

It sounds like divorce is an easy procedure, sign a few documents and you’re divorced, right? Wrong. It’s not always as straightforward as you may think as there is only one legal ground for divorce and that is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.

Whoever begins proceedings, this individual is called the Petitioner, they must demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing that adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years of separation with consent or 5 years without has occurred.  But what does all of that mean?


While this isn’t always pleasant and can often lead to a more complicated and stressful divorce, the Petitioner must prove that either spouse has had sexual intercourse with another person.

Unreasonable Behaviour

If a spouse can demonstrate that he/she has behaved unreasonably in such a way that they are unable to live with the other party, then the spouse can file for divorce. This type of unreasonable behaviour can include:

  • A spouse has threatened another with physical violence or is physically abusive, verbally abusive
  • A spouse is financially irresponsible
  • A spouse drinks to excess and is aggressive
  • A spouse has formed a relationship with an unknown individual


If a spouse has deserted another without their consent for a significant period of time (at least two years) then the spouse can file for divorce.

Two years separation with consent

Consent does what it says on the tin.  It means that both parties have been living apart for at least two years, immediately preceded the divorce petition and both have agreed to a divorce.

Five years separation without consent

In this instance, both parties have been living apart for at least five years immediately preceding the presentation for the divorce petition. In this instance, a spouse is qualified to begin divorce proceedings without consent. 

It’s vital that you are aware of the grounds for divorce before filing for divorce, statements such as ‘we’ve grown apart’ and ‘irreconcilable differences’ just won’t do.

If you believe your marriage has irretrievably broken down, talk to us today. The divorce process is an emotional and sensitive time, that’s why we’ll help you throughout the divorce process to ensure it runs smoothly.

If you would like to discuss the options available to you, please contact a member of our family law today for a confidential, no obligation and free initial consultation on 029 2023 7777 or click here to email us.


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