Grounds for divorce

Grounds for divorce

No-fault divorce was introduced in England and Wales on the 6th of April 2022 which removes the need to choose one of the five facts to support the 'irretrievable' breakdown of a marriage.

You can read more about this change in our no-fault divorce guide

To get divorced in England & Wales, you must:

  • Be married for at least a year
  • Have an address for your ex so the court can send them the divorce papers
  • An original/ certified copy of your marriage certificate, in English
  • £593 to pay the government, see this as a filing / admin fee. You can also check if you / your ex is entitled to a discount on the court fees here

Prior to the introduction of No-fault divorce in England and Wales, you would have to choose one of the five 'facts' commonly called the 'grounds for divorce' which were:


One of you has had sex with someone of the opposite sex. You can't use adultery as a reason if you have lived together as a couple for six months after you found out about it.

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Wedding rings
Couple sitting on sofa

Unreasonable behaviour

One person has behaved in a way that means the other person feels they cannot continue to live with them. Examples of behaviour might include abuse or addiction but increasingly court will accept milder examples such as a lack of love and emotional support.

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Two years separation

You’ve lived apart for more than two years. This can be in the same household provided you have separate sleeping, eating and financial arrangements. Both of you must confirm this in writing.

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Divorce in dictionary with wedding rings
Couple talking over coffee

Five years separation

You’ve lived apart for more than five years. This is different to two years separation as your husband/wife doesn’t have to agree to the divorce.

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One person has left the other without agreement, and without good reason, for a period of more than two years in the past two and a half years. You can still use desertion if you’ve lived together for up to six months in this period.

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Dad and children in living room