The Irretrievable Breakdown Of Marriage

In England and Wales, there is only one reason for divorce, the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage.

However, you are required to prove that your marriage has broken down irretrievably using one of 5 facts:

Irretrievable Breakdown Defined

Irretrievably broken down means that you are unable or simply not willing to carry on living and being in a marriage with your spouse. Your relationship can no longer be retrieved and has come to a definite end.

The law

It’s important to understand that the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage alone is not an acceptable reason for divorce. This is why you are asked to prove it using one of the five facts.

A no-fault divorce is accepted in some countries but England & Wales is not one of them. However, no-fault divorce is coming to England and Wales in 2021.


Constant arguing, frequent conflicts and different opinions can all lead to the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.

The following are common problems that can lead to irretrievable breakdown:

  1. Finances and debt problems
  2. Lack of trust
  3. A stressful job or frequent nights away
  4. Reduction of sexual intimacy
  5. Clashing personality’s
  6. Problems communicating
  7. Disagreements involving household chores
  8. Different parenting ideas
  9. Family conflicts
  10. Growing apart

If you believe your marriage is beyond repair but you are unsure as to what grounds for divorce you are able to use, please do not hesitate to contact us. One of our advisors would be more than happy to help you.

The Divorce Process

1. Find suitable grounds for divorce

To file for divorce you need to explain to the court why your marriage has irretrievably broken down, which is done by establishing one of the five available ‘facts’.

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable Behaviour
  3. 2 year separation
  4. 5 year separation
  5. Desertion

2. File a divorce petition form

The filing of the divorce petition (form D8), is where you ask the court for permission to divorce. You are asked to disclose details on your marriage and a detailed reason for why you wish to end your marriage.

3. Acknowledgement of service

This involves the court sending your spouse (the respondent) an acknowledgement of service form, your spouse will need to respond within 7 days.

Your spouse essentially tells the court that they are happy for the divorce to go ahead based on the reasons provided.

4. Decree nisi stage

At this stage of proceedings, the court will go through your divorce application and decide whether they are happy for it to proceed.

If the information in the divorce petition is correct and your spouse has responded to the court, they will grant you a decree nisi pronouncement date.

This date is an important step as you are then entitled to apply for the final decree (decree absolute), 6 weeks after this date.

5. Decree absolute

To obtain a decree absolute in divorce proceedings, you must apply to the court 6 weeks and 1 day after the date of your decree nisi pronouncement date.

The court will grant you a decree absolute, usually with 1-2 weeks of receiving your application, which will formally end your marriage.

How Divorce-Online Can Help You

We have helped thousands of couples obtain a quick, easy and cheap divorce.

Our Managed Divorce Service for £189 is the quickest and easiest way to obtain a divorce. We handle your entire divorce procedure whilst keeping you updated every step of the way.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01793 384 029 or email us today to speak to an advisor about your case to see if we can help.

The easiest and quickest way to see which of our Divorce services is best for you is to use our easy-to-use online tool.
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