Q: Since my husband and I have been stuck at home together since last March we have discovered that we really don’t even like each other. The problem is that we do not have any actual grounds for divorce, plus we are both worried that our jobs might come to an end if the COVID crisis doesn’t resolve itself soon. This means financially we cannot risk one of us moving out and renting somewhere else at the moment. So, what is our best route to divorce?
A: The fastest way to divorce is to live apart for two years but as you have suggested, for financial reasons now may not be a good time to do so in two separate households.
Under current divorce law you must prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, using one of five specified reasons. These are: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years separation with consent or 5 years separation without consent.
In either late 2021 or early 2022 new legislation is expected to come into force which removes ‘fault’ from the divorce process, but as it is still a good way off you may prefer to start the ball rolling now. It is possible for you to live apart but still remain under the same roof. You can then apply for a divorce after two years, so long as you both consent to it. To do this you will need to decide who occupies what space and who pays for what household expenses, so keeping everything in the home, and in your lives, completely separate.
There may be aspects of your spouse’s behaviour that would be deemed ‘unreasonable’ and therefore you should consult with a solicitor who will be able to advise whether a divorce is possible now.
This question has been answered by Deon Hayward, a Trainee Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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