Under the law, the sole ground of divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. However, according to Section 15 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, there are circumstances where the irretrievable breakdown of marriage can be gleaned from.
In this article, we would consider 7 circumstances as provided under the Matrimonial Causes Act where a marriage would have said to have been broken down irretrievably. They are:
1. Willful and persistent refusal to consummate the marriage:
Where one of the parties in a marriage has willfully and persistently refused to have sexual intercourse with their partner after the marriage, then the aggrieved party can apply for a divorce.
2. Intolerable adultery:
Where one of the parties in a marriage has committed adultery, and the partner finds it difficult to live with him or her, then such partner can go to court to institute divorce proceedings
3. Unreasonable behaviour:
Where one party in a marriage behaves in such a way that it is unreasonable to expect the other party to live with them, such aggrieved party can seek a divorce. Unreasonable acts include habitual drunkenness, rape, sodomy, frequent crime convictions, domestic violence, e.t.c
4. Living apart for continuous period of two years with agreement:
Where both the husband and wife have lived apart for a continuous period of two years, and both of them mutually agree that they want the divorce, then they may apply to the court to grant a divorce.
5. Living apart for at least 3 years without agreement:
Where both the husband and wife have lived apart for a continuous period of three years, a party may apply for divorce. In this case, there is no need for agreement from the other spouse.
Where one party in the marriage deserts the other for a period of at least one year after their marriage, then the aggrieved party may seek a divorce.
7. Presumption of death:
Where one of the parties in a marriage has been absent for so long that he can be presumed death, the other party may seek a divorce. According to the Evidence Act, the period for a missing person to be presumed dead is 7 years.