The petition


The petitioner needs to satisfy the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing one of five facts:

  • That the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent;
  • That the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent;
  • That the respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of at least 2 years;
  • That the parties have lived separately for at least 2 years and both agree to divorce;
  • That the parties have lived separately for at least 5 years.

Most divorces are based on either 'adultery' or 'behaviour'. Adultery is an act of sexual intercourse between man and woman. The adultery must have come to the petitioner's attention within six months prior to the separation or at any time after separation.

'Behaviour' is a subjective test as to what the petitioner finds unreasonable. The behaviour alleged does not have to be extreme or consist of violence or aggression. Less obvious behaviour such as working too much or showing little affection can be sufficient.

The petition will also set out other information required by the Court, such as where the parties live, whether there are any children and whether the petitioner wishes the respondent to pay the costs of the divorce proceedings.

For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you to talk through your options and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.