Pick the Right Ground & Reasons for Divorce

Care should be taken when considering the reasons for divorce.

Unfortunately, not all marriages last and they can often lead to an unhappy ending and separation which are based on a ground for divorce. According to the Office of National Statistics in England and Wales 42 % of the marriages end in divorce with a staggering amount of 204,014 divorces in 2017.

Our divorce law experts have provided the most common reasons for divorce which they have experienced when dealing with clients.

Infidelity – this is one of the common reasons for divorce and the breakup of many relations. The cause of infidelity is extra marital affairs. Many people apply for a divorce based on cheating and affairs which often leads to a breakdown in trust. According to our divorce law specialists’ emotional affairs which lead to physical affairs is the most common reason for the divorce.

Money problems – this is one of the biggest causes of divorce. The reason for divorce usually stems from when partner in the marriage has different spending habits which often lead to financial difficulty within the marital home. This problem also covers an area where one partner is making more money than the other partner which results in a power struggle which can lead to stress and rendering it unable to live with the partner.  

Communication – Effective communication often leads to a strong marriage where partners are able to discuss anything and everything relating from family life to employment and business. However, a lack of communication can often be a cause for concern and is one of the common reasons for divorce. Our divorce law specialists have experienced that poor communication which can consist of not enough talking or yelling and shouting is one of the common reasons for a divorce.

Arguments – Within some marriages arguments can help a relationship by getting each partners views across and clearing the air by clarifying any misunderstandings. In contract constant arguments which often don’t resolve issues but in fact create more issues is another common.

Interference – this acceptable reason for divorce is caused by the distraction from others. Outside interference from family, work and friends can often lead to a breakdown of marriage. Marriage is a fragile relationship which needs attention and time. External distractions especially from an ex-partner can often create tension and lead to a partner feeling they are not important anymore which can cause a change in feelings and lead to an unhealthy relationship.   

Toxic Relationship – This is another common reason for divorce. This usually happens due to behaviour of a partner that may lead the partner to feel drained, depleted and distraught. This sort of behaviour can be emotionally and physically damaging to the partner. This can often be caused by a lack of trust, hostile atmosphere, constant judgement and disrespect.

Children – although children are often a sign of a happy and stable family, sometimes children can be the reason for wanting a divorce. Often partners approach to parenting and methods on the upbringing of children may differ. This can often lead to a complication in the marriage due to the difference in thought and approaches. Our family law specialists have experienced and assisted many parents to try and reconcile differences with regards to children to try and save a marriage. Associated with this reason of divorce is also children from previous relationships. Many parents may react differently to children from the relationship and children from previously relationships.

Lack of intimacy and love – this is also one of the common reasons for many divorces. Partners often complain of the feeling of living like strangers rather than spouses. The root of this is often lack of physical or emotional intimacy as well the lack of love. Often actions of kindness are sufficient to show love.

Addiction – Addiction is a common cause of marital breakdown. This often occurs where one partner is addicted to drug or alcohol abuse or even to other issues such as gambling. Addiction often impacts the whole family and not just the addict causing it difficult to continue a relationship. Addiction can often lead to a traumatic and violence relationship and can be a last straw to ending the marriage together with other reasons.

Neglect and growing apart – this is one of the acceptable reasons of divorce. Along with time, people and relationships often change. A marriage can deteriorate if there is a feeling of neglect. This may include not giving time to the relationship or a partner in which case a marriage no longer grows. This can often lead to a lack of love and understanding between partners and thus cause the partners feeling dejected and alone despite being in a marriage.

Article Contents

What are the grounds of divorce?

There are five grounds of divorce which are unreasonable behaviour, separation of 2 years, adultery, separation of 5 years and desertion.

Unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason for parties divorcing. 45% of the divorces in England and Wales are caused by either the husband or wife behaving so badly that it is unreasonable for the marriage to last. The grounds of unreasonable behaviour is a broad ground which covers violence, abuse, addiction or refusal to pay towards expenses of the marital home.

Why do I need a ground for divorce?

A ground for divorce is important when filing for a divorce petition. This is because the ground for divorce will need to be specified and made clear as part of the divorce process. A grounds of divorce is needed to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. A couple can only show a marriage has irretrievably broken down by satisfying one of the main grounds mentioned above. It is not sufficient to just state that there are irreconcilable differences within the marriage.

What ground for divorce could I consider if my wife has cheated on me?

If you feel your wife has cheated on you the ground for divorce which will usually apply is adultery. In order to rely on this ground your wife must have had sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex.

In order to file for divorce on this ground for divorce you must do so within six months of discovering that you wife has cheated on you. You would be unable to rely on this grounds of divorce if you have lived with your wife as a couple for 6 months after you discovered the adultery. This ground for divorce can only be used if you are the innocent party. If however both partners have had a sexual relationship then either the husband or wife can apply for a divorce.

What ground for divorce could I consider if my husband has abandoned me?

Quite often a husband may have abandoned his wife for a significant period. In such a situation desertion may be used as a ground for divorce. Desertion is where your husband has deserted you for a continuous period of at least 2 years. In the UK this ground of divorce is very rarely used. The reason for this is that in order to satisfy this ground there must be mental intent to divorce throughout the 2 year period. This can often be very difficult to prove.   

As a result, even if this ground maybe applicable separating couples can often use the grounds of separation. If your husband has abandoned you, you have the option for pursuing either the ground of 2 years separation with consent or 5 years separation.

In order to satisfy the grounds of 2 years separation with consent, you must have been living apart for at least 2 years immediately before the divorce petition and you must both agree to the divorce. Under this ground even if you have been living together for financial reasons due to your children you may still be able to show the courts you have been leading separate lives.

In order to satisfy the grounds of divorce of 5-year separation you must have been living apart for at least 5 years immediately before the presentation of divorce. For this ground you do not require the consent of your partner.

When do I need to provide the reasons for divorce to my lawyer?

It is important to provide the reason for divorce to your lawyer from the outset. This is because your lawyer will usually complete your D8 application for you or assist you in completing this. When filing for your divorce you will need to specify your reason for the divorce. If you are therefore unsure as to which ground for divorce will be applicable to your personal situation then you can contact Kabir Family Law to speak to one of our divorce specialists. We can provide you with a Free initial consultation to assist you in preparing your divorce petition. Contact our family lawyers in York who would be happy to help with any query. 

Do I need to prove the reasons for divorce with evidence?

If you are alleging one of the fault-based ground for divorce, then you must prove the reason for divorce to the court with evidence.

Where the matter concerns a case of adultery, you will need to provide evidence of the adultery as well as proving that you find it intolerable to live with your spouse.

For divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour you will need to provide examples and evidence of your partners unreasonable behaviour. For divorce on grounds of adultery you must show that your spouse has left you in order to end your relationship without your agreement and without a good reason.

Can a ground for divorce be challenged?

One spouse can defend divorce proceedings when the divorce petition is issued. This is usually the case when either the respondent does not accept that the marriage has broken down irretrievably or most commonly does not accept the ground for divorce upon which the petition has been issued. In such cases your spouse can challenge the ground for divorce.

What happens if the ground for divorce challenged?

If one spouse decides to challenge the divorce or the ground for divorce then this could delay the proceedings. Although contested divorces are rare, many couples may find themselves in a situation where they need to challenge the divorce. In order for you to challenge the ground for divorce you must initially complete your acknowledgement of service and indicate your intention to contest the divorce.

You will then have one month to provide an answer to the court. The answer is similar to a statement which details the reasons for you defending the divorce or challenging the ground for divorce. Once you have submitted your answer to the court, the court is then likely to list hearings to allow you to present your hearings and reach a decision for your divorce. Should you require assistance in defending a divorce you can contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation

If you are experiencing one of the above issues, you are not alone. Contact one of our divorce law specialists at Kabir Family Law who will listen to your situation with empathy and try and assist you to resolve your family life. With family lawyers in Newcastle as well as across the country we are proud to be able to offer office appointments.

Contact us today on 0330 094 5880 to discuss your options or let us call you back to arrange a free initial consultation.


  • Please note as of 6th April 2022 the divorce law in England & Wales changed to replace the requirement of a ground being needed to divorce; by the introduction of a No Fault Divorce.
  • This article content therefore only applies to divorce petitions lodged before the 6th April 2022. If you are seeking to lodge a petition after this date, we would direct you to the replaced area of law under the No Fault divorce.