Either of the spouses can start a divorce. The only ground for a divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. If you start the divorce, the only way to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down is to prove one of five facts:
If people do not want to wait for two years, they can only base the divorce on “adultery” or “behaviour” even if they both agree to the divorce. “Adultery” is an act of vaginal sexual intercourse by a married person with a person of the opposite sex. “Behaviour” does not need to be violence or other extreme behaviour. A combination of other behaviour can be sufficient. Often issues like working too much (or not working enough), showing too much (or too little) affection, combined with a number of other similar factors are used.
Any adultery or behaviour you want to rely on should have happened in the six months before you separated or at any time after you separated; or in the six months before the divorce application (the “petition”) is filed at court.
The dissolution of a civil partnership for same-sex couples is similar, but slightly different.
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This is an outline of the law, practice and procedure in England and Wales. It should not be taken as specific advice. All families and couples are different. The law may have changed since this was written and we therefore accept no liability for inaccuracies. Where examples are given, your personal circumstances may vary slightly, but the difference may be significant for the outcome of the legal process. Contact us for specific advice on your own circumstances.
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