Family divorce



You can only get divorced if you have been married for one year. There is only “ground” for divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, to prove that to a court one of the following five factors needs to apply:

Adultery: When your husband or wife has had an affair and you feel you can no longer live with him or her

Unreasonable Behaviour: When your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you could not be expected to continue to live with him or her

Desertion: When your husband or wife has left you without your agreement or good reason for two years or more

Two Year Separation: This can be used if you have lived apart from each other for two years or more and your husband or wife consents to the divorce

Five Year Separation: If you have lived apart for five years or more you can apply for a divorce even if your husband or wife is not in agreement.

In the case of adultery or unreasonable behaviour you do not have to wait for a period of time and this is often referred to as a “quickie divorce”, although the process takes the same length of time (usually about six months from the date divorce proceedings are issued until the date of the final decree).

You do not normally need to appear in court personally to get a divorce.

When you do get a divorce the court will be able to make orders about property and financial matters if you or your husband/wife makes an application.

You will need to fill in a detailed form about your children’s circumstances and the arrangements you have both made for them.

Mediation is a way of sorting any differences between you and your ex-partner, with the help of a third person who won’t take sides. The third person is called a mediator. They can help you reach an agreement about issues with money, property or children.

You can try mediation before going to a solicitor. If you go to a solicitor first, they’ll probably talk to you about whether using mediation first could help. 

You don’t have to go to mediation, but if you end up having to go to court to sort out your differences, you normally need to prove you’ve been to a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). This is an introductory meeting to explain what mediation is and how it might help you.

There are some exceptions when you don’t have to go to the MIAM before going to court – for example, if you’ve suffered domestic abuse.

If you need to go to court and your ex-partner doesn’t want to see a mediator, you should contact the mediator and explain the situation. You can’t force your ex-partner to go to mediation.