Am I eligible for a divorce?

Sadly, not all marriages are destined to last forever and heartbreaking though it maybe, sometimes you have to bid farewell to your married status.

This is a touchy subject, but one that needs to be addressed as not everyone is eligible for a divorce in the UK.

Listed below is the criteria that has to be met, before a divorce is finalised.

  1. You must be married for at least a YEAR before you can make an application for a divorce. The marriage may have come to an end before the completion of a year, however legally you cannot make an application until the full year period has been completed.
  2. You must also prove that your marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’. This point can be established by the following ways:

a) Adultery

You must prove by way of evidence that your spouse has had sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex and because of this, it has now become intolerable to live with them.  The ground is specifically to be used if the spouse receiving the divorce has had sexual intercourse – anything short of this will not be sufficient. You would also need evidence of the same, this could be by way of photographs.  You could name the individual your spouse is having sexual relationship with as co-respondents, but this can be difficult as they might refuse to confirm that they were a part to the sexual behaviour.  You must also advise the court of the adultery by way of an application within 6 months of finding out- unless the adultery is still continuing.


As solicitors, we are aware that this ground is very difficult to satisfy and therefore the next option may be chosen instead.

b) Unreasonable behaviour

Arguably the most common ground to apply for a divorce and the easiest to satisfy.  Many people choose to apply for a divorce under this ground, even if their spouse has been disloyal in their marriage.


To satisfy this ground, you must show that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.  This ground has two sections to it, the behaviour has to be unreasonable and it is unreasonable for YOU to live with your spouse because of it. This is a two way test. The objective view is whether the allegation against your spouse is unreasonable. The subjective view is whether it is so severe that you cannot be expected to live with this person. The latter is your opinion and this is possibly why it has become the most used ground for divorce.


It is recommended that more than 2 allegations is given as to why you would want a divorce, examples of this could be: violence, not devoting enough time to the marriage to even not having a sexual relation with the person.  Your solicitor would further be able to confirm whether the issues you are having can be accounted for when applying for a divorce.

c) Desertion

This ground is to be used when your spouse has deserted you for two or more years for a continuous period. In reality, this ground is rarely used.

d) Two years separation with consent

This ground is to be used where the parties have agreed to live separately for two years. After the two year period divorce proceedings can be issued.  We recommend that you keep hold of some proof to show that your partner has agreed to live separately.

e) Five years separation without consent.

This ground is to be used when you and your spouse have been living separately for 5 years or more. Consent from the other party is not required and you can apply for a divorce without getting your spouse involved with the decision.


If you have made the decision that you are going to get divorced then get legal help at the outset. You should always go and speak to a specialist Family Solicitor. They can give you clear advice and explain to you what your legal rights are. Try not to speak to friends and family about this as they may not give you the right information.

Our Family Law Team can deal with your problem in a sensitive and confidential manner. Contact us today.

Iqra Tahir


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