To obtain a divorce you must be able to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably in one of five ways:
2 Your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour
3 Your spouse’s desertion, followed by a separation of at least two years
4 Two years separation, with your spouse’s consent
5 Five years separation with or without your spouse’s consent
To dissolve a civil partnership you have to prove that the relationship has broken down irretrievably in one of the same ways, except that you cannot rely on adultery.
If you start the proceedings, you are the Petitioner. If your spouse or civil partner starts the proceedings, you are the Respondent.
Undefended divorces and dissolution applications normally take five to eight months to complete. There is no need for either party to attend court unless there is a dispute (for example, about who should pay the costs of the proceedings).