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You can get a divorce in England or Wales if you have been married at least one year and your relationship has irretrievably broken down.
The marriage must be legally recognised in the UK and the parties must usually live in England or Wales.
When you apply for a divorce you will need to prove to the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. In order to do this, you will need to use one of five ‘facts’:
- Unreasonable Behaviour
- Separation of 2 years with the other person’s consent
- Separation of 5 years without consent
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This is applicable if your husband or wife has had sexual relations with someone else of the opposite sex. The law recognises the act of adultery as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.
You will not be able to use adultery as a reason if you lived together with your husband or wife as a couple for six months after you found out about the adultery.
You can use this fact for divorce if your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. The court will require information demonstrating a pattern of behaviour over time. The behaviour can include examples such as, physical violence, verbal abuse, drunkenness or drug-taking or refusing to contribute to the running of the household.
You can apply for a divorce if you’ve lived apart for more than two years and both agree to the divorce. Your husband or wife must provide consent in writing.
You can apply for a divorce if you’ve lived apart for at least five years, even if your husband or wife disagrees. They will not be required to consent to the proceedings.
This is a very rare reason for divorce in recent years, but one that is still available.
You can use this fact to show the court your marriage has irretrievably broken down if your husband or wife has left you without any consultation or agreement, without reason and has left you for more than two years within the last two-and-a-half-year period. You can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to a total of six months in this period.