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The formal dissolution of a marriage, otherwise known as a divorce, is the legal process in which a marriage is formally ended under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

  • In order to be eligible for a divorce in England and Wales, the parties must have been married for a period of at least one year.
  • The document that has to be completed and filed with the court to begin the process is a Divorce Petition. Either party to the marriage may petition for divorce on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • In order to establish that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, the Divorce Petition will need to rely on one of the following facts:
    • Adultery;
    • Unreasonable behaviour;
    • Desertion for a period of two years or more;
    • Two years’ separation, with both parties consent;
    • Five years’ separation, without consent.

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