Desertion means that you or your spouse left your home with no good reason and without prior consent from the other partner.

If either you or your partner was away continuously for two out of the last two
and a half years, either of you can use desertion as grounds for divorce
without needing the agreement of your spouse providing you can satisfy the
courts that your spouse:

  • did not have your consent to be away
  • intends to permanently stop living with you
  • doesn't have a valid reason for being away (e.g. your own unreasonable behaviour)
  • no longer lives with you

In Northern Ireland the law relating to desertion as the fact for grounds for divorce differs slightly, asdesertion occurs where one partner deserts the other without reasonable excuse for an uninterrupted period of two years. There must also be proof of an intention to desert you or your spouse.