Grounds for Divorce UK

Under English and Welsh law within the UK, in order to have grounds for divorce you must have been
married for at least a year, and also be able to establish that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, because one or more reasons or 'facts' for the breakdown of the marriage can be listed as grounds for divorce.

The five facts 'that can be used as grounds for divorce under English and Welsh law with in the UK are:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Desertion
  • 2 Year Separation
  • 5 Year Separation

Because the facts for divorce are based on a single ground for divorce – that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, two points will be examined to confirm that this is the case:

1. Whether a person has declared their intention not to continue with the marriage
2. Whether their actions support this declaration


If you were to declare your intention not to continue with your marriage, yet continued to live with your spouse as part of their life, this would indicate to
the courts that your marriage had not broken downirretrievably because your actions would not support your statement.

Whilst it is possible for you to continue to live with your spouse even when you believe your marriage has irretrievably broken down, it would be expected that
you would no longer socialise and sleep together and would in effect be leading
two separate lives. If it appeared that you were still living together amicably
then it may appear that the marriage is salvageable and has not broken down irretrievably, and as such a
divorce may not be granted.

Divorce law is significantly different in Scotland from that in England and Wales. Under Scottish law, the facts applicable to proving the irretrievable breakdown of
a marriage are different, and an additional
grounds for divorce can be used. The alternative ground for divorce in Scotland is that you or your spouse are a transsexual who has an interim gender recognition certificate. An interim gender recognition certificate can be obtained by applying to the Gender Recognition Panel and starting the process of legal recognition of your newly acquired gender.