Who does this apply to?
To petition for divorce on these grounds of adultery, you must be able to prove that your spouse had sexual relations with a member of the opposite sex, which in turn made living with your spouse unbearable. Although you are allowed to name the person your spouse had an affair with, it is neither required nor advisable as it may aggravate the conflict. The most common way to prove adultery is by confession of the guilty spouse.
Bear in mind that although these proceedings may be started while you and your spouse are still living together, you can no longer claim these grounds for divorce if you are still living with your spouse six months after you learned of the affair.
In this case, or if your spouse’s extramarital affair was short-lived, it is better to start divorce proceedings on the grounds of ‘unreasonable behaviour’.
It is important to bear in mind that these grounds for divorce can only be claimed by the spouse who is the victim of the adultery. In other words, you cannot use these grounds if you yourself are the adulterer.
However, you can invoke the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ of your spouse, providing you have some evidence to support that claim. If not, your petition for divorce will be problematic.
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To petition for divorce on these grounds of unreasonable behaviour, you must be able to prove that your spouse behaved in such an unreasonable manner that you cannot be expected to carry on living with them.
Two years’ separation with mutual consent
You can petition for divorce on these grounds if you and your spouse have been living apart for at least two years at the time you apply for divorce, providing that you both agree to it.
Desertion, when a spouse has left the marital home for more than two years
To petition for divorce on these grounds of desertion, you must be able to prove that your spouse has deserted the marital home.
Five years’ separation without consent
To petition for divorce on these grounds, you must be able to prove that your spouse has left the marital home for at least five years at the time of the divorce application.