Q&A - Is two and a half years’ separation, sufficient grounds for divorce?

16/05/2016

Q: Just over two and a half years ago I moved out of the marital home when my wife and I agreed that we no longer loved each other and had no future together. Neither of us had anyone else on the side-lines and we didn’t even discuss divorce. However, I recently met someone I really like and we are discussing a future together. I would like to be in a position to ask her to marry me, so I want to apply for a divorce from my wife. Do I have a satisfactory reason to apply?

A:  In general you have to show the court that the marriage between you and your wife has broken down irretrievably and then support this with a Fact from a specified list of Facts. Fact D is two years’ separation with consent, so provided that your wife consents to a divorce you could use this Fact.

You will need to satisfy the court that you and your wife have been living apart continuously for at least 2 years, and this has to be more than simply physical. There also has to be a mental element, i.e. it must be identified that you or your wife regard the marriage as empty and that you will never live together again. Therefore you must provide evidence that you have both socialised separately and have separate financial arrangements etc.

As stated earlier, your wife must also provide consent to the divorce. This must be in writing to satisfy FACT D, and it can be done any time after service of the divorce petition. It is highly unlikely that your wife would not consent to this after more than two and a half years of separation so the divorce should be straightforward. Your solicitor will advise you on applicable financial aspects of the divorce.

Leah Mountford

Leah Mountford

Solicitor

Part of the Family and Matrimonial team in Wrexham

Linda Hill

Linda Hill

Senior Solicitor

Linda Hill is based in our Oswestry office and was previously a partner with Stevens Lucas.