There is only one ground in England and Wales which can be relied on to show that a marriage is over and that a decree of divorce should be granted and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is evidenced by one of five facts a) adultery b) unreasonable behaviour c) 2 years separaration by consent d) desertion or e) 5 years separation by consent.
Once the divorce petition has been issued by the Court and service on the other party is proved either by them returning the Acknowledgment of Service form or via another method of service, an application is made to the Court for the pronuncement of Decree Nisi.
This is the stage at which the Court considers the divorce petition and decides whether the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
In a recent case reported by the Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/feb/14/woman-seeks-to-end-39-year-marriage-in-valentines-day-court-appeal, a wife has been refused permission to divorce her husband as the Judge does not feel that her marriage has irretrievably broken down. It appears from what has been reported that the husband has defended the divorce proceedings and indicated that he does not believe that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
It is rare for a Judge to refuse permission, however it is within their powers to do so.
The wife is taking her case to the Court of Appeal in the hope that they will overturn the decision of the Judge.
It is important when seeking a decree of divorce, to ensure that the divorce petition is drafted well and that sufficient evidence is provided to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
We have family law specialists available who can provide legal advice and dispute resolution services, including family mediation. If you would wish to speak with one of our Family Law Specialists, please do contact our friendly team.