Five years’ separation

You can get a divorce if you have lived apart from your spouse for five years or more.  Unlike a divorce based on two years’ separation, you don’t need your spouse’s consent.  You do however have to prove that your spouse has received the divorce papers and thus knows about the divorce.  Alternatively if your spouse has disappeared you can get a divorce based on five years’ separation but you have satisfy the court that you have taken all reasonable steps to find your spouse.

It is quite common for a couple who have been separated for five years or more, but who are in touch and choose to go down the consensual route, to get divorced on the basis of two years separation with consent.