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Divorce Terms

Divorce Terms

Grounds for Divorce:

To enable you to divorce you need approval from the courts to do so. The courts will accept your divorce on the following grounds: Please note the below are succinct and basic definitions, for a more comprehensive understanding of any of the following, please contact us.


This is when your Spouse voluntarily has sexual intercourse with someone other than you. Please note that in same-sex marriages, adultery may only apply if sexual intercourse is between members of the opposite sex.

Unreasonable behavior

These are actions your spouse takes which mean you can’t reasonably be expected to continue to live with him or her anymore. These actions can vary widely from severe actions such as physically harming you or your children or smaller incidents which have continued over a long time and which have accumulated.

However they are presented, this ground for divorce would need to demonstrate clearly that by these actions you have come to a point where you cannot continue to live with your spouse.

You will need to be able to demonstrate this to the court. Incidents could be such things as verbal and physical abuse whether threatened or carried out; financial irresponsibility which affects the survival of the family and/or children such as excessive spending or refusal to provide earnings to the family; excessive drinking; gambling; inappropriate behavior towards other men/women; drug taking etc.

These are merely examples, there could be many other kinds of actions taken by your spouse which could legitimately constitute unreasonable behaviour which are not listed here.


This is when your spouse gives you and your family up, leaves and and is gone for a continuous period of at least two years. During this time you must have had to have no contact with them or have been meeting up. It must also be the case that the person willingly left of their own accord – not because you prompted or demanded them to leave.

Agreed separation

This is when you and your spouse mutually agree to separate and you stay apart for more than 2 years.

Prolonged separation

This is when you and your spouse have lived apart for more than 5 years.

Types of Divorce and Finance Orders:

There are a number of specific orders that can be applied for (outside of the usual decree nisi and absolute.)

Periodical payment order

This is a regular payment made out of one’s income. It can be open-ended or limited in duration. If the party receiving maintenance remarries or dies it automatically stops. Periodical payment orders can be varied (either by amount or duration) if warranted.

The Court can order a fixed sum as a capitalisation of the order, this can be done where a “clean break” is agreed by one or other party or justified if finances permit

Lump sum provision order

Often a means of dividing savings held by one party or where one spouse wants to remain in the joint home and pays a lump sum to the other to do so (as opposed to having to sell it). There are many other reasons for lump sum provision order but these are typical examples.

Property adjustment order

This type of order adjusts the share ratio in property. The court can make orders to sell property immediately or to delay the sale for good reason such as children are still living at home or transfer a property to one party.

Pension sharing orders

Pensions are usually in the name of one party. Most commonly the “breadwinner” will have a large pension due to a better ability to earn. Typically it is the wife at home who applies to share the pension with her ex-partner as she is less likely to have a pension in her own name.

A pension sharing order is a way for one pension to be split into two parts. The value of the pension is established by the pension trustees and this value is split between parties – it does not have to be an equal split.It is important to obtain an actuary report to ensure the correct division.

This means that either party can then pay more suns into the pension to increase the amount in their fund. It also means that if the one party decides they want to take a lump sum out of the fund and ensures that they both have some pension provision following the divorce.

This is the most common way that pensions are distributed and dealt with during divorce financial proceedings although sometimes an interest can be offset by one party having more of the capital assets.