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Despite the much heralded introduction of the “no-fault divorce” bill before Parliament, this legislation in fact did not progress when Parliament was prorogued. The legislation was reintroduced in the Queen’s Speech on the 14th October 2019. However, the legislation must pass through Parliament again before it can become law. It did not do so before Parliament was dissolved for the General Election. The legislation will therefore have to be re-introduced by the new government. It is therefore not clear when this might become law.

Therefore it is useful to state what the current law is for obtaining a divorce.

Currently there is one ground for a divorce and that is an irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. In order to prove this you must divorce on one of the following facts:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Separation of 2 years with the other party’s consent
  • Separation of 5 years

In reality, to avoid waiting for 2 years, most divorces are issued on the grounds of either adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

You cannot, however, request a divorce until you have been married one year.

Resolution, the professional body who represents family solicitors, support the call for a “no-fault divorce” and it is hoped that this legislation will become law sooner rather than later.

For more information on Resolution’s campaign for a “no-fault divorce”, visit

Should you have any queries about cohabitation or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Family Team:

Exeter 01392 285000    Cullompton 01884 33818     Newton Abbot 01626 330127


Please note, our offices are closed from 12:30pm on Monday 23rd December 2019 and will reopen at 9:00am on Thursday 2nd January 2020.

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