Divorce is one of the hardest processes that couples have to go through in their lifetime. Increasingly there are more people getting divorces in the UK due to a multitude of reasons and this can have a negative impact on the rest of the surrounding family and friends. Divorce should be seen as a last resort and should not be taken lightly. Couples looking for divorce solicitors in Guildford will need to ensure that they choose a firm of solicitors who are specialised in the field of family law, where they will be able to work with couples in a professional and friendly manner and give them expert advice throughout the process.
What is divorce?
Divorce has been defined as the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage due to one of five reasons, known as grounds. A couple cannot apply for a divorce until they have been married for at least one year. The couple can apply for a divorce if they can show that the marriage has broken down as a result of adultery, unreasonable behaviour on the part of either one or both of the parties, desertion and separation. Any divorce solicitors you employ should be able to assist couples throughout this process.
What are the grounds for getting a divorce?
In order to file for divorce under the grounds of adultery the wronged spouse will need to be able to prove that the accused spouse has had sexual intercourse with another person which makes it intolerable to live with them. The wronged spouse, also known as the petitioner, will not be able to apply for divorce on the grounds of adultery if sexual intercouse has not taken place between the accused spouse, otherwise known as the respondent and another individual. In such circumstances, the divorce solicitors will advise their clients to apply for divorce under the grounds of unreasonable behaviour as this will be easier to prove and will not delay the proceedings. An individual will not be able to apply for divorce on the basis of their own adultery.
Unreasonable behaviour is a broader ground for divorce and is the most commonly used ground in the UK when applying for a divorce. The petitioner will need to be able to prove that their spouse has behaved in such a manner that it cannot be reasonably expected for the petitioner to remain with their spouse any longer. Examples of unreasonable behaviour will be violence, extra-marital relationships but where sexual intercourse cannot be proven, carelessness and lack of devotion. Usually, the petitioner will need to be able to present 2-3 allegations to the court to be able to prove unreasonable behaviour and therefore justify the divorce.
The petitioner will be able to file for divorce under the grounds of separation where the couple have been separated for two years and they mutually agree to the divorce. Alternatively where the couple do not agree to a divorce the petitioner can issue divorce proceedings without the consent of the other party after five years of being separated.
Desertion is one of the grounds that is not often used by couples when applying for divorce, however it can be applied where the petitioner’s spouse has deserted them for a continuous period of two years.