There is only one ground for divorce/dissolution and that is that the marriage/civil partnership has broken down irretrievably. The person who starts the divorce proceedings is known as ‘the petitioner’ and their spouse/civil partner is called ‘the respondent’. To satisfy the court that there has been an irretrievable breakdown the petitioner must prove one of the following five facts:
Most divorces are based on facts (a) ‘adultery’ or (b) ‘behaviour’. ‘Adultery’ is an act of sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex. To be able to rely on this in the divorce the adultery must have happened in the six months before separation or at any time after separation. There is no need to name the person with whom the adultery took place or indeed to involve them in the court proceedings.
The test for ‘behaviour’ is subjective and it does not need to consist of extensive violence, drug or alcohol addiction or other extreme behaviour. A combination of less obvious behaviour can be sufficient. Often issues like working too much (or not working enough), showing too much (or too little) affection, combined with a number of other similar factors are used.
Mediation reduces conflict. When you attend a mediation session the grounds of divorce will be discussed and you will resolve the issue of who starts the divorce process and on what “fact” the divorce proceeds reducing conflict. Your mediator can supply examples of “facts” that can reduce conflict should you require them. We suggest that the person in the place of “the petitioner” agrees with the other person what the “facts” for the divorce are to be and allows “the respondent” to draft the divorce petition. A fee for the issue of a divorce petition is charged by the court service currently £410. This fee cannot be avoided should you choose to divorce.