To begin divorce proceedings you must lodge a petition to the court. If you have children you also have to complete a statement of arrangements for children. When applying for a divorce there is only one ground on which to apply and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However you must prove one of the following facts to demonstrate the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage:
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1. Adultery: by the respondent and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.
2. Unreasonable behaviour: by the respondent and the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.
3. Two year separation: Both parties have lived apart for two years continuously immediately before the presentation of the petition and the respondent agrees to the decree being made.
4. Five year separation: Both parties have lived apart continually for five years immediately before presentation of the petition.
5. Desertion: This has to be for a two year continuous period immediately before the presentation of the petition to the court.
If you present your petition to the court and your partner agrees to the separation and the plans for the dividing of assets and custody arrangements if children are involved, then the court will issue you with your decree nisi. If you were the one that commenced the proceedings then six weeks after this time you could apply for the decree absolute which will officially end your marriage. However if you are not the one that began the proceedings then you have to wait three months before you can apply for the decree absolute. If the respondent wants to defend the divorce, they can then they can by filing a cross petition. This can make the process upsetting for both parties and can mean the process of gaining a decree absolute will take a long time.
If the court does not agree that your plans made for the arrangement of care for children are satisfactory then they can stop the divorce proceedings and you would have to begin the process again. If you cannot reach an agreement for the division of assets and finances then the court will let you continue with the divorce proceedings, however you could have to make a financial order which is a formal arrangement made in court.