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Grounds For Divorce in Northern Ireland

Currently in Northern Ireland, in order to legally divorce, you and your spouse must have one of the following groundings as a reason to do so. Navigating your divorce and separation can be upsetting and difficult for all of those involved, which is why having sound legal advice is a must. 

H McPartland & Sons Solicitors can offer helpful and practical advice surrounding Matrimonial Law and guide you through this process with sensitivity and professionalism. Our expert divorce solicitors are here to help you, contact H McPartland & Sons to discuss your options. 

Grounds In Which You Can Petition For Divorce in Northern Ireland

The following blog contains information that relates to the grounds on which you can petition for divorce in Northern Ireland. 


In Northern Ireland, if your partner has committed an adulterous act with another person during your marriage, this can be claimed as a grounding for divorce. In this scenario, you must be able to prove that adultery has been committed, usually, this is proven by your spouse admitting the act. 

If you continue to live with your partner for six months or more after they have committed adultery, then you may not be able to use this as grounds for your divorce.

Unreasonable Behaviour

You can claim unreasonable behaviour as grounds for divorce in Northern Ireland if your partner has behaved in a way in which you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. An example of unreasonable behaviour in this scenario could involve abusive behaviour, alcohol or drug addiction or there is a lack of communication between you both.


You can claim for divorce in Northern Ireland on the grounds that your partner has deserted you. In this scenario, your partner must have left you deserted for over two years, without prior notice of their departure and it must be clear that your partner has no plan to return. 

Lived Separate for Two Years 

If you and your spouse have lived separately for two years and both parties consent to the divorce, you can be granted a divorce without assigning blame. During the time that you have lived separately, you can have lived in the same house with your spouse for up to six months, but your lives must be lived apart e.g. each party cooks dinner separately and no time is spent together. 

Lived Separate for Five Years 

If you have lived separately from your spouse for five or more years, then a divorce can be granted by the court on these grounds. Unlike living separately for two years, consent from your spouse is not necessary for this divorce scenario. 

No Fault Divorces

In other places of the world, ‘No Fault Divorces’ have been granted for the reason that a person’s marriage has simply broken down, through no exact fault of either party. Although this type of divorce has been supported to supposedly reduce blame and conflict between parties, others worry it could have an adverse effect on the sanctity of marriage by making the process of divorce too easy. In the future, ‘No Fault Divorces’ could make their way to Northern Ireland, but for now, a divorce in Northern Ireland must instead fall under one of the above groundings. 

H McPartland & Sons are experienced divorce solicitors ready to help you through the divorce process. If you would like to receive advice related to divorce in Northern Ireland, please contact H McPartland & Sons today. 
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