/ Divorce / Which ground to use

Which ground for divorce should I use?

You should pick the grounds you use for your divorce carefully. 

Different grounds require you to prove different things. Some take longer than others. 

Also, whether the ground for divorce used is fault or non-fault based can have an impact on who pays for the costs of the divorce.


This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to get a divorce in Northern Ireland. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist divorce solicitor for advice on your specific circumstances.

Which ground for divorce should I use?

The best ground to use in your divorce application will depend on your individual circumstances.

Depending on the situation you are facing, one ground for divorce might be much more convenient for you over another.

This is another reason why you might want to get advice from a divorce solicitor before you decide which ground to use.

Here are a couple of examples that show why this is important:

If want to move on from the marriage as quickly as possible for example, the two year separation ground may not be suitable for you.

This is because the two year period of separation, required for this ground, only starts running when you start to live apart. If you have only recently started living apart, or perhaps you have not yet started living apart, this can be a long time to wait before you can start divorce proceedings.

Another example might be if one spouse is financially dependent on the other and he/she has stopped this support:

The petitioner may not be able to wait two years before getting the divorce finalised – he/she might need to move to the ancillary relief part of proceedings as quickly as possible.

In such a case, unreasonable behaviour or adultery (if they occurred, obviously) could be better grounds to use (because you won’t have to wait for the two year period to expire).

But the disadvantage of these grounds is that you need to prove that your partner was responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.

Regardless of what happened, this can quickly add a lot of toxicity into proceedings, and quite often it is very difficult to prove adultery, and so on.

Hopefully these examples show why choosing the best ground for your divorce is an important part of the process, but it is also one that can be complicated and easy to make mistakes with.

That is why we recommend getting advice from a divorce solicitor, just to make sure that you are not making any mistakes that might have an impact at a later point during the divorce process.

The above article is part of our guide on how to get a divorce in Northern Ireland.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland specialist divorce solicitor who will be able to provide advice tailored to your own personal circumstances.

If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.

All the best,

The Team @ Lightlaw
Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland divorce solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.
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