Considering a Divorce in Hong Kong – Ground and Facts

Considering a Divorce in Hong Kong – Ground and Facts

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Kimberly Ann Dasse, a family law practitioner based in Hong Kong, has prepared a series of articles on divorce proceedings, examining some of the main steps on the path to dissolving a union. Yesterday she covered length of marriage and jurisdiction. Today she covers“grounds” and“facts”for divorce.

In Hong Kong, there is only one ground for divorce: that the“marriage has broken down irretrievably”. To prove this ground, a party must establish at least one of five facts: unreasonable behaviour, one year separation with consent, two year separation, desertion, or adultery.

Unreasonable Behaviour

To establish this fact, the petitioner must establish that the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot“reasonably be expected to live with the respondent”. Generally the behaviour cannot be ancient history and should have occurred within the six months prior to filing the petition to avoid increased court scrutiny into the particular.

The courts encourage parties to attend mediation and attempt to resolve their differences rather than going to trial on the petition. Solicitors are required to advise their clients of this option and most solicitors actively encourage their clients to attend mediation. Thus, to keep matters amicable, most parties will allege mild facts and avoid “trashing” the respondent as tempting as that might be. For example, instead of saying “she is a cold fish!”, the petitioner might say that the respondent does not demonstrate love and affection; rather than “he completely ignores me!”, one might state that the respondent does not communicate.

One Year Separation with Consent

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