Ground for divorce

Marriage is not easy. Unfortunately, even couples with the best intentions can end up considering divorce. There are a number of reasons why people get divorced. Every circumstance is different and unique to each couple but there is one legal ground for divorce, namely irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This can be shown by establishing one of the following five facts:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion – for more than 2 years
  4. Lived apart for more than 2 years (where consent between the parties is needed)
  5. Lived apart for more than 5 years (no consent is needed)

In order for the courts to grant a divorce you must have been married for over a year and you must satisfy one of the facts stated. 

Most popular reasons for divorce in Leicester

We have found that unreasonable behaviour is most often the ground for divorce in Leicester and Leicestershire.  This is likely to be because of the vast variety of reasons associated with unreasonable behaviour.  To list a few, these include:

  • Trust issues
  • Selfishness
  • Friends taking priority
  • Affairs
  • Refusing to pay housekeeping
  • Drunken behaviour or drug taking
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical violence
  • Excessive sexual demands
  • Crime

What is unreasonable behaviour?

Unreasonable behaviour covers instances where your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.  As well as the reasons listed above, other instances which have successfully been classified as unreasonable behaviour when getting a divorce include:

  1.  The case of O’Neill v O’Neill where the husband, after retiring, bought a flat for himself, his wife and his teenage daughter. He then personally began extensive renovation, involving mixing cement in the living room and leaving a toilet without a door for 8 months causing embarrassment to the wife and daughter. After two years of the upheaval the wife left, and was entitled to a decree using this fact. O’Neill v O’Neill [1975]1 WLR 1118
  2. The case of Birch v Birch where the wife’s main complaint against the husband was that he was dogmatic and dictatorial, with nationalistic, male chauvinistic characteristics which she had resented for many years. The court granted the divorce and acknowledged that the wife’s sensitive nature made it unreasonable for her to go on living with him. Birch v Birch [1992] 1 FLR 564

Our trainee, Helena Taylor, who has worked in the family department suggests, “One of the main reasons why people get divorced is that they have simply fallen out of love with each other. The problems in a relationship arise when neither party acts on this. The couple find themselves living in close quarters with someone they no longer wish to. They each start to find fault in the other and the marriage breaks down.”