Article by Ben Letham
AdulteryUnreasonable behaviourDesertion for more than two yearsSeparation for more than two years, if your spouse consents to the divorceSeparation for more than five years, if your spouse contests the divorce
Desertion is the least common grounds for divorce used in the UK. This is because it can be difficult to prove. Separation is the most common grounds for divorce used, as it is easier to prove. A family solicitor can advise you on which is the most suitable grounds for divorce in your circumstances.
Under UK divorce law, desertion requires you to prove that your spouse ‘walked out’ on the marriage with the intention never to return and to ignore their marital responsibilities. It can be difficult to prove this intention, particularly proving that they had the intention at the time they walked out.
For example, if your spouse left to work overseas and ended up deciding over there a year later to never return to the marriage, the intention and the two year period only arises from that point when that decision was made. Obviously, it would be difficult to the innocent spouse to prove their spouse’s changing intentions, although correspondence such as emails may suffice.
People whose marriage has ended due to desertion often avoid these difficulties by using separation as grounds for divorce instead. If the divorce will be uncontested, this will make things much easier, and the divorce can be obtained within the same two year period.
A family solicitor can advise you on the best grounds to rely on, and whether the ground of desertion is suitable for your circumstances. Your family solicitor can also prepare and file your divorce petition on your behalf and represent you at court.