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Getting Divorce for Desertion or Separation in the UK

Being deserted by your spouse could be the worst feeling when you don’t have any idea about your future. The reasons could be anything from a forced marriage, a scam marriage, abusive marriage, or loveless marriage. The spouse may disappear forever without giving any warning to the other party. However, the abandoned spouse needs to know about future options in order to get a proper divorce.


What is Desertion?


Desertion refers to the event where your partner leaves you without any good reason or agreement to end the marriage for at least two years. If your partner has been absent from your life and relationship for a minimum of 24 months in the time span of the last 30 months, you may not need to have an agreement with them to seek a divorce. You can initiate the process on your own accord.


This ground for divorce is not as much used as the other ones, and the reason is that it is a little difficult to prove your partner’s mental intent to divorce in the court. For instance, suppose a partner leaves you to work in another state, then in such a case they haven’t really shown the intention to desert you. They have made their mind to leave you after, say, a year. Then it will be desertion for a year only, and you need two year to use this as a ground for divorce. However, you may be able to file for a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour in such a case.


Hard to Prove


As we spoke before, proving desertion could be challenging for the abandoned spouse. It is completely dependent upon proving the intent of desertion. For example; working overseas might not come under desertion. It only comes under desertion when at the time of leaving, the spouse had shown the intention of never returning or suddenly vanished. It would be better if you consider unreasonable behaviour to show that the other party has deliberately taken a job abroad without even consulting you. It is quite evident that finding out that the intention of deserting might not be possible or simple for the other party. Therefore, seeking a quick divorce is out of the question.


Don’t Know the Whereabouts of Your Spouse?


Even if you don’t know where your spouse currently lives, you can still begin with the hearings. However, the court will demand the evidence to make attempts to contact them. If you don’t have their contact information, you still reach their relatives, friends, or their place of work. The papers of your divorce can be directly sent there.


Separation (more than 2 years):

Separation; for more than 2 years, refers to the situation in which you and your partner have been leading separate lives since the past two years on a constant basis immediately before you apply for the divorce. By far, this is the only “no-fault” ground for divorce since it does not involve blaming either of the parties.


  • Both the parties must be in agreement with this decision and provide their agreements in writing. The petitioner will mention it in their divorce petition while the respondent will mention so in their service application acknowledgement.
  • You will have to provide the court with the proof that you and your partner have been living separately. And if you have not been living separately for reasons of paying bills, you will have to provide the court with a living arrangement that reflects that you have been leading separate lives. This means you have not been sharing the same space, just the same home. This might be a little tricky to prove.

Separation (more than 5 years)


Separation; for more than five years, insinuates that you have been living separately from your partner continuously for more than five years immediately before you have presented your divorce petition. When seeking divorce on this ground, you do not need your partner to be in agreement with you for the divorce. However, you’ll have to show the court that you have made sufficient efforts to locate them. Some issues might come up, such as your partner decided to be uncooperative. In such cases, you will have to show the court that the divorce petition has reached them and you may then request them to serve the notice.


Osbourne Pinner and its highly professional and learned team of divorce and family law will help you through each step in this entire process, the team keeps its clients’ interests in high priority and works dedicatedly to drive the case in your favour. Osbourne Pinner can provide you with all the guidance required to mention the details of your living arrangements and your separation agreements.

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