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Describe the requirements that have to be satisfied in order to succeed in bringing a divorce petition under English Law

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Introduction

Describe the requirements that have to be satisfied in order to succeed in bringing a divorce petition under English Law. Divorce in England & Wales is currently granted on the basis of the irretrievable breakdown of marriage. The Family Law Act 1996 which has recently passed through Parliament will amend the law in quite significant ways but it will only be brought into effect in stages and dates have not yet been fixed for most of these. There are currently five so-called "grounds" which can be relied upon to witness irretrievable breakdown: Adultery: Adultery is a common ground for divorce in ...read more.

Middle

Desertion: If one party to a marriage "deserts" the other for a continuous period of two years then it is possible to seek a divorce on this ground. Two years' separation with consent: Of all the grounds for divorce this is the one, which lends itself best to the so-called "amicable" divorce. There are no allegations of behaviour made and the matter must necessarily proceed by consent. Five years' separation without consent: If a marriage has irretrievably broken down and the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of five years then either party may seek to obtain a divorce regardless of whether the other party consents or not. ...read more.

Conclusion

Similarly, the parties cannot use adultery if there has been none. This means that "unreasonable behaviour" is the method of choice for most couples who want an "instant" divorce in cases where no adultery is involved. Although divorces based on the last three grounds are by no means uncommon, in practice most divorces are based either on unreasonable behaviour or adultery and the reason for this would seem to be that neither involve the wait which the other grounds involve. When a marriage breaks down it is not usually too difficult to find some instances of unreasonable behaviour on either or both sides and so this is, not unnaturally, seen as a route to a quick divorce. ...read more.

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