Grounds for Divorce

There is only ground for divorce in the UK, which is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.


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Shortlands is a boutique family law firm with over 20 years of experience in dealing with the trials and tribulations of a divorce and all family law matters. As a result, we have become the first choice of family law specialists in London.

5 Grounds for Divorce

grounds for divorce 


1. Adultery

You will need to have proof that your spouse/civil partner has committed adultery or ensure that they will agree to a divorce based on this reason. The place of adultery and the date when it was committed, or when you became of the same, will need to be included when detailing this fact on the divorce petition.


2. Unreasonable Behaviour

If you have been subject to unreasonable behaviour, which includes acts of violence, emotional abuse or lack of support, this can be presented as a strong reason for divorce. A petition based on this reason does not need to be very detailed. However, you must be able to recall and share details of a minimum of four incidents, which you deem to be acts of unreasonable behaviour.

NB In relation to the above two reasons, if you have resumed the relationship for a period of six months or more from the date of the adultery or last incident cited, then neither of these reasons can be relied upon in support of divorce.


3. Two years’ desertion

You will need to state that your spouse/civil partner left you without your consent for a period of two years, and you have no knowledge of their whereabouts.


4. Two years’ separation with consent

If You have consented to living apart socially, sexually and domestically for a period of two years immediately before presentation of the divorce petition, you can file for divorce on grounds of consensual separation. There are many forms of separation, e.g. you can still be living in the same house and be separated. In all cases, you must be able to confirm the date of separation and ensure both parties consent.


5. Five years separation

If you have been living apart socially, sexually, and domestically for a period of five years immediately before presentation of the divorce petition, you can file for divorce. The other party’s consent is not essential in this case.

For more extensive advice and information, please email or call us to book an initial consultation.

Speak to Our Family Law Experts

Our professional and highly experienced team of family lawyers can assist you in your legal matters with full respect, ensuring you maintain a private family life. For more extensive advice and information, please email or call us 02076299905 or book an initial online consultation.

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We understand that every case is different and has its own complexities. Our experts are dedicated to guiding you through the legal process with tailored solutions which work for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You have to be married for at least one year before divorce can be commenced. 

No. You are able to divorce in the UK as long as you or your spouse have been resident here for at least one year before starting your case, or you and your spouse are domiciled in the UK.

No. The same procedure has to be followed before divorce is finalised. See Our Flowchart

– A divorce petition

– Original Marriage Certificate, with translation if appropriate

– A fee

An ‘agreed divorce’ takes about 5-6 months to finalise.

You are still able to divorce by showing the court that you have made attempts to locate them. The facts of 2 years’ separation with consent or adultery should not be relied upon in this instance.

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