There is only one reason you can get divorced in the UK and that is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, it is necessary to prove to the courts that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences. To do so, you must demonstrate that one of the five facts of divorce has occurred.
The five facts of divorce are:
- Adultery – if your husband or wife has had sexual relations with someone of the opposite sex, this will amount to adultery. This will not apply if your husband or wife has had relations with someone of the same sex.
- Unreasonable behaviour – if your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you can no longer bear to live together, you can use the fact of unreasonable behaviour. This might include abuse (physical and verbal), substance abuse or the failure to contribute financially.
- Desertion – if your husband or wife has left you for no good reason, without your agreement, or for more than 24 months in the past 30 months, this will amount to desertion.
- Separated for two years (and you both agree) – if you and your husband or wife have been living apart for two years – and you both agree to the divorce – you can use the fact of two years’ separation.
- Separated for five years – if you and your husband or wife have been living apart from more than five years, you can use the fact of five years’ separation. You can use this fact even if your husband or wife does not agree to the divorce.
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