There is only one ground for the dissolution of the marriage, i.e. that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and to show that, you must prove one of five facts. If satisfied with the facts, the court will grant in the first instance a Decree Nisi, which cannot be made absolute for six weeks and one day.
The five facts are:
a) the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent;
b) unreasonable behaviour on the part of the respondent; i.e. they have been violent towards you
c) desertion (for a period of over two years);
d) that the parties have lived apart for a period in excess of two years and the respondent consents to the divorce and
e) the parties have lived apart in excess of 5 years.
The two immediate grounds, a) and b), are the most common. With an adultery petition, it is no longer necessary to name the co‐respondent, and it is, in fact, encouraged that you do not. With an unreasonable behaviour petition, the particulars will usually run to 3 or 4 paragraphs and should set out the first incident, the worst and the last. At the end of the petition is a prayer for the relief sought. This usually includes the petitioner’s claims for financial relief and, it is necessary for all the claims to be included here even though it is unlikely that they will be pursued.