Reasons for divorce

Reasons for divorce
Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 10:20 AM

Important update: in April 2019, the government confirmed that England & Wales will (at some point) change the current laws and introduce no-fault divorce. The information in this blog is still valid until the laws change, however when this will be has not yet been confirmed. For updates on no-fault divorce, please enter your email address below and we'll alert you about any important changes.

Not sure what the reasons for divorce are? In England and Wales, there are five reasons you can use to get a divorce. Here is a quick run down of all of the reasons along with important info you should know about each one.

One of you has behaved in a way that has resulted in the marriage breaking down (Unreasonable behaviour)

  • One person has to blame the other for their behaviour
  • You need to provide examples of the behaviour, being clear on when this behavioir occurred and the emotional impact
  • If you’re the person being blamed, it might help you remain amicable if you write the examples of your behaviour so your partner doesn’t have to

Read the full explanation of unreasonable behaviour here or get help writing the examples.

One of you has committed adultery (Adultery)

  • You need start your divorce within six months of finding out.
  • Adultery means sex with someone of the opposite sex, same sex relations doesn’t count in our legal system…
  • You don’t have to name the other person if you don’t want to

Read the full explanation of adultery here.

You’ve lived separate lives for at least two years and both agree the marriage is over (Two years separation)

  • You don’t have to have been living in separate homes to use this reason.
  • Living separate lives emotionally, physically, socially and financially are still accepted by the courts.
  • This is the most amicable reason you can use

Read the full explanation of two years separation here.

You’ve lived separate lives for at least five years. (Five years separation)

This is different to the above because the other person doesn’t have to agree to the divorce.

Read the full explanation of two years separation here.

One person has left the other without good reason (Desertion)

  • The hardest reason to ‘prove’ out of all the options
  • You need to be able to prove that the mental intent to leave has been there for at least two years
  • You need an address for your ex so they can receive the divorce papers if you don’t you need to prove that you’ve tried every way possible to get in touch with them.

Read the full explanation of two years separation here.

Like a lot of couples, after reading the above, you might be thinking, ‘well none of the reasons really apply to us’. The reality is sometimes you just fall out love and just aren’t happy in the relationship anymore and no one is to ‘blame’. Unfortunately, though, we don’t yet have no-fault divorce in England and Wales so if you want to get a divorce you have to use one of the reasons above.

For help working out what reason is most relevant to you, get in touch. amicable offers a free 15-minute call to individuals who need a helping hand getting through divorce and separation. 

Book a free 15 minute advice call

Rebecca Jones Rebecca Jones
About the author Rebecca has a background in family law and has also been through her own divorce. Rebecca is fantastic at offering pragmatic advice and is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the legalities around divorce and separation.

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