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Grounds for divorce

When you apply for a divorce you’ll need to prove that your marriage has broken down. You’ll need to give one or more of the following 5 reasons.

Adultery

Your husband or wife had sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex.

The law recognises the act of adultery as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.

You cannot give adultery as a reason if you lived together as a couple for 6 months after you found out about it.

Unreasonable behaviour

Your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.

This could include:

  • physical violence
  • verbal abuse, such as insults or threats
  • drunkenness or drug-taking
  • refusing to pay for housekeeping

Desertion

Your husband or wife has left you:

  • without your agreement
  • without a good reason
  • to end your relationship
  • for more than 2 years in the past 2.5 years

You can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to a total of 6 months in this period.

You’ve been separated for more than 2 years

You can apply for a divorce if you’ve been separated for more than 2 years and both agree to the divorce.

Your husband or wife must agree in writing.

You can be separated while living in the same home as long as you’re not together as a couple (for example you sleep and eat apart).

You’ve been separated for at least 5 years

You can apply for a divorce if you’ve been separated for at least 5 years, even if your husband or wife disagrees.

source: https://www.gov.uk/divorce/grounds-for-divorce

 

Check you can get a divorce

You can get a divorce in England or Wales if you’ve been married at least a year and your relationship has permanently broken down.

You must have a marriage that’s legally recognised in the UK - this includes same-sex marriage. You must usually also have a permanent home in England or Wales.

If you do not want a divorce, you can get a legal separation so you can live apart without ending the marriage. You might also be able to annul the marriage.

Before you apply

You and your husband or wife need to work out:

You also need to divide your money and property. There’s a deadline if you want to make this legally binding.

You can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree about children, money and property and the reasons for ending your marriage.

Get help agreeing on issues

You can use a mediator. Check if you can get legal aid to help pay for mediation.

 

source: https://www.gov.uk/divorce

Divorce rate falls to lowest level since 1973

The divorce rate among opposite-sex couples in England and Wales has reached a record low, with marriages now lasting for an average of 12.2 years. This 2017 figure is the joint highest on record, tied with 1972, and is an increase of 0.2 years compared to 2016.In 2017 the rate of divorces among opposite-sex couples in England and Wales was 8.4 per 1,000 married couples, the lowest it has been since 1973.Divorce rates fell among all age groups between 2016 and 2017 apart from among those aged over 60 where rates stayed steady at 1.6 per 1,000 couples.The ONS, who produce the figures, noted that this decrease in the prevalence of divorce is likely to be due to increases in the average ages at which people get married.Their report states that "age at marriage is considered to be closely linked to the risk of divorce with those marrying in their teens and early twenties being at greater risk."The average age of men in opposite-sex couples at the time of marriage now stands at 37.5 years, while for women marrying men it is 35.1 - both these figures are close to 10 years higher than they were in the early 1970s.Divorce rates in England and Wales have been steadily falling for the past 13 years after peaking in the early 90s following a sustained increase that began in 1971 after the Divorce Reform Act came into force.The 1980s produced the least successful marriagesThe ONS also produces figures showing what proportion of marriages in any given year subsequently ended in divorce. You can explore this data using the interactive tool below.Of the 344,334 couples who tied the knot in 1983 a whopping 43 per cent subsequently divorced, compared to just 27 per cent of marriages from 1963.There are also far fewer early divorces these days compared to recent decades.Of the 311,564 marriages in 1992, 11.2 per cent had ended in divorce after just five years. This figure had fallen to 6.4 per cent for those who married in 2013.Unreasonable behaviour the most common reason for divorceAt 62 per cent, the majority of the opposite-sex divorces in 2017 were petitioned for by the wife. However, this number has fallen fairly significantly of late with it being more usual for in excess of 70 per cent of divorces being granted to the wife up until the turn of the millennium.Unreasonable behaviour was the grounds given for close to half of the divorces granted in 2017, making it the most common reason given for separation.Husbands are far less likely than wives to petition for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour or adultery, but far more likely to petition on the grounds of separation.source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/26/divorce-rates-fall-lowest-levels-since-1973-people-getting-married/ 

Divorce law: Plans to overhaul 'archaic' laws revealed

More details have emerged about government plans to overhaul "archaic" divorce laws in England and Wales.

Couples wishing to divorce could soon benefit from a less confrontational process, under proposals confirmed by the Justice Secretary David Gauke.

The government has launched a consultation proposing removing the need to allege "fault", and the right of spouses to contest a divorce.

Mr Gauke said the current divorce laws were "out of touch with modern life".

Under the current law, unless people can prove their marriage has broken down due to adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion, the only way to obtain a divorce without a spouse's consent is to live apart for five years.

 

If the separation is mutual, the couple have to prove they have been separated for a minimum of two years before they can divorce.

Mr Guake said: "We think that the blame game that currently exists helps nobody. It creates unnecessary antagonism and anxiety at an already trying time for couples."

The proposed changes, which were leaked earlier this month, include making "the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage" the sole grounds for a divorce.

It is also recommending removing the need to show evidence of a spouse's conduct, or a period of living apart.

The 12-week consultation also proposes a new notification process where one, or possibly both parties, can simply notify the court of their intention to divorce, removing the opportunity for the other spouse to contest the divorce application.

The changes would apply to both marriages and civil partnerships.

Pressure for reform intensified after a woman's appeal for divorce was rejected by the Supreme Court in July due to her husband's refusal to split.

Tini Owens, 68, wanted to divorce on the grounds she was unhappy but her husband of 40 years refused the split, leading the court to rule against her "with reluctance".

That meant she must remain married until 2020 - as currently the only way to obtain a divorce without a spouse's agreement is to live apart for five years.

Mr Gauke said the case had "generated broader questions about what the law requires of people going through divorce and what it achieves in practice".

There had been a "growing coalition recognising that the animosity that is put into this system is one that is not doing us any good," he said.

Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon had previously urged the government to simply change the law rather than undertaking a consultation.

Hannah Cornish, head of family law at Slater and Gordon, said there was a "desperate need" for reform.

She added: "Having to place blame can really inflame matters at what can already be a stressful and difficult time for a family."

Ministers also want views on the minimum time between the interim and final divorce decree in order to allow couples time to reflect and reach agreement on arrangements for the future if divorce is inevitable.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45525979

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