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Grounds for divorce outside of England & Wales – what you should know

Monday, 8 June 2015

clip_image001In our recent guide to International Divorce we looked at the many different considerations that need to be made when planning to dissolve a marriage outside of the UK.

However, even within the UK there are differences in the divorce process. In this blog we will detail the differences in the legal grounds for divorce in England & Wales compared with that of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Grounds for Divorce

In order to be granted a divorce by the courts you must be able to demonstrate that you have suitable grounds.

In England and Wales, this could be one of the following:

  • Adultery with a member of the opposite sex
  • Unreasonable behaviour – i.e. alcohol abuse, drug abuse, etc.
  • Desertion
  • Separation for longer than 2 years (if both parties agree to the divorce)
  • Separation for longer than 5 years (usually granted even if one spouse contests the divorce)

However, in Scotland and Northern Ireland the grounds for divorce differ. For example in Scotland, desertion is no longer accepted as a reason for divorce and there are only two accepted grounds. A marriage can be dissolved if either there has been an irretrievable breakdown of a relationship or a partner has decided to live their life as a transgender person.

In Northern Ireland, parties must have been married for a minimum of two years before they can petition for a divorce. They are also unable to complete divorce proceedings themselves as every case is required to be taken to court and reviewed by a judge.

Here at Rollingsons we have extensive experience in divorce cases outside of the UK. For more information click here or call us on 020 7611 4848.

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