The grounds for Divorce / Dissolution of a Civil Partnership
If you are considering a divorce/dissolution, contact Angela Moores for advice on what options are available and information on how the divorce process works. All our initial meetings are free of charge.
Starting divorce procedings
There is only one ground for commencing divorce/dissolution proceedings and that is you must show that the marriage/partnership has irretrievably broken down. This can be showed by proving one of the five following facts:-
- Adultery – you can issue divorce proceedings if your spouse has committed adultery. However, you must be able to prove the adultery. It is not sufficient to simply suspect that your spouse may have committed adultery due to the fact that he or she is in a new relationship. It is advisable to only commence proceedings on this basis if your spouse is willing to admit to the adultery openly prior to issue of proceedings. (Not available in dissolution of civil partnerships).
- Unreasonable Behaviour – this is the most commonly cited of the five facts. Unreasonable behaviour can include a multitude of behaviour including violent and threatening behaviour, verbal intimidation or aggression, or more simply, that you feel that your spouse has simply lost interest in you and the marriage/partnership, and offers little emotional support. Your partner does not have to agree that their behaviour has been unreasonable. It is a subjective test which means the court will focus on how their behaviour has made you feel.
- Two Years’ Separation with consent- you can issue divorce/dissolution proceedings on the grounds that you and your partner have lived apart separately for a continuous period of two years or more. However, you will need your partner’s consent to issue on this basis. If that consent is not provided, then you will not be able to issue on this basis.
- Desertion – you can issue proceedings on this basis if your partner has deserted you for a period of two years’ or more. This ground is rarely used, and usually one of the other five facts can be used instead.
- Five Years’ Separation – it is possible to issue proceedings on the grounds that you have lived apart separately for a continuous period of five years or more. In these circumstances, it is not necessary to obtain your partner’s consent to the proceedings.
Dissolution Proceedings for Civil Partnerships
In relation to same sex civil partnerships, the grounds for dissolution are the same in that you need to be able to show that the civil partnership has irretrievably broken down. It is not possible to issue dissolution proceedings on the grounds of adultery, but it is possible to use any one of the four remaining facts as evidence of the irretrievable breakdown. Care needs to be taken as to where the petition is issued with the dissolution of civil partnerships.