Unreasonable behaviour is one of the five facts you can use to obtain a divorce in England and Wales.Unreasonable behaviour is the most common ground for divorce in UK divorce law. Of the 90,871 divorces in England Wales in 2018, the most common reason for divorce was unreasonable behaviour. Over 50% of women and 36% of men cited this as the grounds for divorce in their divorce petition.
Petitioner must show that the other party to the marriage (Respondent) has behaved in such an unreasonable manner that the other finds it intolerable to live with him or her, and as a result the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
In the current absence of a no-fault divorce system, in England and Wales, using unreasonable behaviour can be a quicker way to end your marriage (as opposed to waiting for the minimum period of 2-years separation).
No one wants to be accused of unreasonable behaviour and the spouse who receives the divorce petition may initially wish to defend themselves against the claims. It is important to remember that the court’s sole purpose is to decide if a marriage has irretrievably broken down, and not if the specific allegations of unreasonable behaviour are true. Because of this, defended divorce is costly and rarely ever successful.
What is unreasonable behaviour?
In short, almost any behaviour that the petitioner (the person issuing the divorce petition) finds to be unacceptable and cannot be reasonably expected to live with can amount to unreasonable behaviour.
Some examples of unreasonable behaviour
• Your spouse on numerous occasions has stated that he/she does not love you anymore, which has caused you distress
• Your spouse has consistently shown little or no interest in socialising with you or his/her friends and has made no effort to do so
• Your spouse does not sleep in the same bed as you and has not done so causing you distress.
• Your spouse has a bad temper that he/she has lost on numerous occasions causing you to be scared
There are many more examples of unreasonable behaviour. Important is that no matter how bad the divorce petition sounds, using unreasonable behaviour as grounds for divorce is the one of the two quickest allowable grounds for divorce, meaning both parties can get on with the rest of their lives.