There is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales – to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You are then required to demonstrate this by relying on one of five facts:
b) Unreasonable Behaviour
d) Separation for a period of two years by consent
e) Separation for a period of five years without consent
Sadly, there is not yet a blame-free option although the concept of a ‘No-Fault’ divorce is something that is currently under review by government.
As a result, the most commonly cited fact above is that of Unreasonable Behaviour. When submitting a Divorce Petition to the court on this basis, you are required to particularise your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour by providing examples to the court. These examples can vary spectacularly as unreasonableness can be subjective and what may be perceived as unreasonable to one person may not be considered as such by another person. For example, if a person has been married for 10 years and has always celebrated Valentines Day with their spouse, exchanging flowers and chocolates each year but this year the relationship has deteriorated and no such gifts are exchanged. This may cause that person to feel unloved, uncared for, or unimportant in a relationship and it is these feelings and the way one is made to feel that are relevant factors that could well be cited in a divorce petition.
One point to remember is that whilst you may wish to keep matters as amicable as possible, the particulars cited in the divorce petition do need to be of sufficient strength to satisfy the court that the marriage has broken down. Therefore, the example above may not be sufficient in isolation but could form part of the broader picture explaining the breakdown of the relationship.
Whatever the reason for the breakdown of a marriage, at SA Law we understand that this can be a very difficult and emotional time, and we have an experienced and approachable team who are here to support you and guide you through the legal process.