What are the Grounds for Divorce in the UK?
The grounds for divorce in the UK depend on where in the United Kingdom you live. In England and Wales, there are five grounds for divorce called “facts,” with each one affecting your divorce entitlement differently. We’ll take you through these facts as they appear in The Matrimonial Cases Act (1973). Bear in mind that these laws are subject to change, and the grounds for divorce are set to change in 2022.
NB: We’re not legal experts. You should speak to a divorce lawyer if you need specific legal advice
How a Divorce Works
The divorce process begins when one partner in the marriage completes a divorce petition. Once the other party acknowledges the petition, the divorce process will begin. You’ll have to give one of the five facts as your grounds for divorce on the petition.
Once the divorce is accepted, you might have to agree on the details of the financial settlement. Once all the details are finalised, you’ll be issued with a decree absolute, which is the legal document that officially ends your marriage.
Two Years of Separation
If you’ve been separated from your husband or wife for two years or more, and you both agree, you can get a divorce. Separation usually means living apart, but you can still be classed as separated if you continue to live in the same house. If you live together, you’ll have to prove you don’t live together as a couple. This would mean not sleeping in the same bed or eating meals together.
Five Years of Separation
Your husband or wife doesn’t need to agree to the divorce if you’ve been separated for five or more years.
Your Husband or Wife Has Committed Adultery
Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex. If your partner doesn’t admit to it, it can be challenging to prove. A private investigator can conduct surveillance on your husband or wife to determine whether or not they’ve been unfaithful, and they can provide court-admissible evidence. Ask your solicitor whether PI services can help you.
When your husband or wife behaves unreasonably, and you find the behaviour intolerable, you have grounds for divorce. Unreasonable behaviour might look like drug or alcohol abuse, violence, or running up debts. However, the behaviour doesn’t have to be this serious. Failing to fulfil marital through emotional unavailability, working too much, or not helping with housework could also qualify as grounds for divorce.
If you need help proving any of these things, a PI can help you. We can conduct surveillance to build up a record of how much time your partner spends away from home. We can also track your vehicle to find out where they go when they’re out.
Desertion is when one spouse abandons the other by moving out of the home and failing to respond to attempts to get in touch. The abandonment needs to be without your consent. If your spouse has a good reason for leaving, like caring for a sick relative, this does not constitute desertion.
To go ahead with the divorce, you’ll either need to find your spouse or wait five years. PI UK offers world-class tracing services to help you track down your spouse and serve them with their divorce papers. Usually, the information you have about them, like their name, old phone number, and their last-known address, will be enough for us to find them.
Until April 2022, you still need to be able to prove one of the facts for divorce. After April, you’ll be able to get a no-fault divorce, which means nobody has to assume blame for the breakdown of the marriage. You’ll be able to file for divorce simply in the case that neither of you wants to be married anymore.
If you need help with divorce investigations, Private Investigations UK offers professional, discreet, and confidential services to help. We’re non-judgmental, and we’ll support you every step of the way. For free, friendly advice, please call 0800 002 0898. Alternatively, please fill out a contact form, and one of our agents will get back to you today