What Counts as Grounds for Divorce?

Divorce Illustration

Divorce Illustration

The emotional, financial and legal burdens of divorce weigh heavy on anyone considering ending their marriage. A divorce solicitor in London can provide legal counsel and advice to help individuals understand the practical implications and the options they have.

Although emotion is often centre stage for anyone beginning or in the midst of divorce proceedings, a good divorce solicitor in London, such as Saracens Solicitors, will endeavour to keep extremes of emotion out the picture so that unnecessary confrontation and heartache are avoided. Laying out the grounds for divorce in black and white needs to be done with a clear head and with attention paid to the pertinent points.

In the UK, there are 5 reasons that count as grounds for divorce:


UK law recognises adultery in the context of divorce as the act of sexual intercourse by a husband or wife with someone else of the opposite sex. This cannot be given as grounds for divorce if, after finding out about the act of adultery, the couple continue to live together for 6 months or more.

Unreasonable behaviour

This is the broadest category under grounds for divorce and includes a range of behaviours that a spouse cannot reasonably be expected to live with, including:

  • Drunkenness
  • Drug-taking
  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Refusing to pay money towards housekeeping.


This when a husband or wife leaves their spouse, without prior agreement or good reason, with the intention of ending the relationship. The husband or wife must have left the marital home for at least 2 years of the preceding 2 and a half years.

Separation for more than 2 years

If both parties agree to a divorce, separation for 2 years is sufficient grounds. Separation does not always have to mean living in separate properties. The 2 parties can continue to live under the same roof but have separate lives.

Separation for more than 5 years

If one party does not agree to a divorce, they can still file for divorce on the grounds that they have been separated from their spouse for 5 years or more.

A divorce solicitor in London can help individuals considering divorce determine whether or not their circumstances meet these requirements.