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What Were The Five Grounds For Divorce?

Jul 12 2021 | Family Law

by Joseph Navas

by Joseph Navas

Head of Litigation

In this article
Remember...

To apply for a divorce, you must have been married to your partner for a least one year.

1. Adultery.

The first ground for divorce was adultery. Adultery is when:

  1. A married man is having sexual intercourse with a woman other than his wife; or
  2. A married woman is having sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband.

Therefore, in the eyes of the law, it’s currently not considered adultery if:

  • There’s a non-marital relationship, but they haven’t had sexual intercourse.
  • There has been sexual intercourse, but it’s with someone of the same sex.

2. Unreasonable behaviour.

Unreasonable behaviour was the most common ground for divorce, as it acts as an umbrella term for several types of behaviour. Some examples include:

  • Domestic Abuse
  • Financial recklessness
  • Social isolation
  • Inappropriate relationship with another person
  • Excessive/lack of sex
  • Alcoholism
  • Excessive/lack of socialising

3. Desertion.

Desertion was when someone’s spouse had deserted them for a continuous period of at least two years. Desertion only applied when:

  • Your spouse has left without your agreement
  • Your spouse has left without good reason

4. Two years separation.

For someone to use two years of separation with consent as a ground for divorce, the following criteria had to apply:

  • The parties must live separately for two years immediately before they petition for divorce.
  • Both parties must agree to the divorce.

5. Five years separation without consent.

For someone to use two years of separation with consent as a ground for divorce, the following criteria had to apply:

  • The parties must live separately for two years immediately before they petition for divorce.
  • Both parties must agree to the divorce.

For this ground for divorce, the person seeking divorce didn’t need to obtain the other person’s permission.

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