While the reforms making no-fault divorce possible are going through a stop-start process in parliament, you might be wondering how long you need to wait until you can get divorced. Clients often come through our doors expecting they’ll need to wait several years – sometimes under very acrimonious circumstances – before they can divorce their ex-partner, but for many, this isn’t the case.
People mistakenly believe there are several grounds for divorce, but as it stands, the only ground is that your marriage must have broken down irretrievably. However, you still need to show your marriage has broken down irretrievably, by satisfying at least one of the following:
a) Your ex-partner has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with him/her;
b) Your ex-partner has behaved in a way that you cannot be expected to live with him/her;
c) Your ex-partner has deserted you;
d) You have both lived apart for at least two years and he/she consents to the divorce;
e) You have both lived apart from at least five years.
To avoid waiting years to divorce, you can rely on your ex-partner’s behaviour to show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This behaviour doesn’t need to be adultery, but can be what you consider to be unreasonable behaviour, and much of the time spent will centre round setting out in your divorce petition the various reasons why you believe you can’t be expected to live with him/her.