The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
In order to establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down the petitioner may rely on the fact that the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition.
The same considerations apply to living apart as apply to the fact of two years' separation, save that consent is not required. See Practice Note: Two years' separation.
A respondent to a petition for divorce based on five years' separation may oppose the grant of a decree nisi on the ground that dissolution of the marriage will result in grave financial or other hardship to the respondent and that it would be wrong in all the circumstances to dissolve the marriage.
This defence is only available where the court makes no findings in favour of the petitioner on any of the other facts, but finds that the parties have lived apart for at least five years.
The court must consider all of the circumstances, including the parties' conduct and the interests of the parties and of any children or other persons concerned.
It has proved to be a difficult defence to establish, and in most cases the respondent may find it more appropriate to apply to hold up the pronouncement of decree absolute until the court has considered their financial circumstances.
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