There is only one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage which must be based on one of five facts set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The person petitioning for divorce has to rely on one of them –

  • adultery (of the other spouse)
  • unreasonable behaviour
  • separation for two years or more (where the other consents)
  • separation for five years or more (no consent from the other needed)
  • desertion (rarely used)

You cannot bring divorce proceedings until you have been married for at least 12 months although it is possible to have the marriage annulled or obtain a decree of judicial separation.

The divorce process in detail (pdf)