What are the grounds for Divorce?

There is really only one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. This is proved by establishing one or more of the following facts:

  • Intolerable Behaviour You must show that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her.
  • Adultery You must prove beyond reasonable doubt, either through actual admission or by way of sufficient circumstantial evidence that sexual intercourse has taken place between your spouse and another person of the opposite sex and that you find it intolerable to live with your spouse. Proving this may be complex and you should seek advice. Adultery can be used as the basis for a divorce petition whether you and your spouse are still living together or have separated.
  • Two Year Separation You and your spouse have been living apart, for a continuous period of at least two years before the filing of the petition. There may be circumstances where a Court may be of the view that spouses have been living separately even when they are living under the same roof. You should seek advice as to whether this applies to you.
  • Desertion Where your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years before the filing of the petition.

You will NOT need to prove the above facts, if your divorce is mediated and a separation agreement is reached. Your divorce may then be reached by filing a Joint Petition based on these settlement terms. Please see our article on "DIVORCE MEDIATION" by our Family Dispute Resolution unit, for more information.

This article is for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified lawyer, provided specifically with reference to all the facts of a particular situation and the law of your jurisdiction.
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