Where you have been deserted for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition, this can be relied on to prove irretrievable breakdown. Petitions based on desertion are rare, as they involve one of the two people deciding they do not want to be in the relationship any longer and the other person not accepting this.

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Facts About Desertion

What is desertion?

The essential elements of desertion are:

  • Living separate and apart (although this can be in the same house)
  • The Respondent must have decided to desert the Petitioner
  • The Petitioner must not consent or agree to the separation
  • The Respondent must not have a good reason for leaving
  • The desertion must be continuous and must take place immediately prior to issuing the petition

When should you use desertion as a reason for divorce?

Consider the logic of the situation. If the person bringing the petition does not accept the relationship is over and does not agree to the other person leaving, then why would they want a divorce or dissolution? To proceed with either you have to show the relationship has broken down irretrievably and in this instance they have not accepted that.

While there may be rare cases where desertion is proved, if the Petitioner accepts the relationship is over, it is much more likely the divorce will proceed on the basis of 2 years separation by consent.

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