irretrievable breakdownthe sole ground for divorce in the UK (although reform is pending in Scotland). Irretrievable breakdown can be demonstrated only by showing at least one of the following:
- (1) that the other spouse has committed adultery;
- (2) that the other spouse has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with him;
- (3) that the other spouse has deserted the petitioner and that two years have elapsed since the act of desertion;
- (4) that the spouses have lived apart for at least two years (with consent) or five years (against the wishes of one spouse). See BEHAVIOUR.
Similar rules apply in relation to CIVIL PARTNERSHIP.