You must meet certain requirements before you are able to obtain a divorce
To obtain a divorce you must:
- have been married for at least one year; and
- be able to demonstrate that your relationship has irretrievably broken down;
- be able to show one of five evidentiary facts to indicate your relationship has broken down.
The five facts are as follows:
- Your partner has behaved unreasonably. This does not necessarily require blame, but the extent of the behaviour must be such that you are not reasonably expected to live with your partner anymore. You cannot use this fact if you lived with your partner for 6-months following the behaviour you claim is unreasonable.
- Your partner has committed adultery. If your partner has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue to live together, this fact can be used to demonstrate the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. This fact is not available to demonstrate the irretrievable breakdown of a civil partnership. If you have lived together for 6-months after discovering the adultery you will not be able to use this fact.
- Desertion. Desertion is where your partner stops living with you without justification, without your consent and with the intent of being separated permanently. You can only use this fact if two years have elapsed since your partner moved out.
- Separation with consent. If you and your spouse have been living separately for two years and both consent to the divorce, this is enough to demonstrate that your relationship has irretrievably broken down.
- 5 years' separation. If you and your spouse have been living apart for 5 years they do not need to consent if you want to obtain a divorce.
You must show one of the five facts and demonstrate that your relationship has irretrievably broken down. You do not need to show that the fact caused the breakdown, but it is likely that the court will infer that the relationship has broken down if you can show one of the five facts.