Grounds for Divorce

The end of a marriage is undoubtedly a big event in someone’s life and the decision to end a marriage should never be taken lightly, which is why we like to clarify what the grounds for divorce are.

Grounds for Divorce Details

Section 5(1) of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 sets out the grounds upon which a court will grant a decree of divorce on application by either spouse. These grounds are as follows:

  • at the date of the institution of the proceedings, the spouses have lived apart from one another for a period of, or periods amounting to, at least two years during the previous three years*;
  • there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between the spouses; and
  • such provision as the court considers proper having regard to the circumstances exist or will be made for the spouses and any dependent members of the family.

All of these grounds must be satisfied before a divorce can be granted and there are specific conditions that apply to each of the above. For this reason, it is always advisable to seek the advice of a qualified divorce solicitor before taking any action.

•The Family Law Act 2019 came into effect on the 25th of October 2019 which reduced the waiting period to, or periods amounting to, two out of the previous three years (it was previously four out of the previous five years). 

Grounds for Judicial Separation

A Judicial Separation is granted by a Judge. Proceedings are instituted by one spouse against the other, to either the Circuit Court or the High Court, seeking a Decree (a Court Order) of Judicial Separation in respect of your marriage. 

There are a number of grounds upon which the Court can grant a Judicial Separation, including:

  • The adultery of one party,
  • Desertion,
  • Unreasonable behaviour,
  • Mental cruelty divorce on the grounds that the applicant has been living separate and apart from the other spouse for 3 years prior to the institution of the proceedings. 

The usual ground upon which the court grants a decree of judicial separation is that the marriage has broken down to the extent that there has been no normal marital relationship between the parties for in excess of one year prior to the institution of separation proceedings.