You may be surprised to know that there is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales and that is the “irretrievable breakdown” of a marriage. But, to satisfy the Court that a marriage has irretrievably broken down one of five facts must be used. These are:
Desertion and Five years separation are used fairly rarely in comparison to the others. Desertion is difficult to prove and often another fact will apply. Couples who have been separated for a long time may use five years separation. Otherwise it may be the only option if one half of the couple has refused to consent to a divorce on two years separation and no other facts apply.
Often known as fault-based facts, adultery and unreasonable behaviour require the person issuing the divorce proceedings to accuse the other person of causing the marriage to break down.
Two years separation is used by a large number of divorcing couples. Often when a marriage breaks down, the parties are not immediately ready to start divorce proceedings. They may be hoping that they will reconcile or just wish to separate and deal with finances first. Often they will have a Separation Agreement drafted and wait until two years have passed before taking the final steps to end the marriage.
First Published in Kings Hill Directory April 2006