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Contesting Unreasonable Behaviour – What Are Your Options?

Contesting Unreasonable behaviour - what are your options?

Contesting unreasonable behaviour is something that you may want to do if you have been served divorce papers but disagree with either the fact for the divorce itself or the specifics of the allegations of unreasonable behaviour made against you. 

When discussing divorce matters, the term unreasonable behaviour means that one half of a married couple has behaved in a way that means the other can no longer be reasonably expected to live with the other person.

Unreasonable Behaviour Can Lead To Divorce

Unreasonable behaviour is one of five legal facts for divorce in the UK but if you disagree with the allegations of unreasonable behaviour against you, what options do you have for contesting unreasonable behaviour? This article aims to cover this topic in more detail.

Over a third of all marriages in England and Wales have ended in divorce in the last 50 years so it’s fair to say that marriage is hard work and although divorce is never an intended outcome of a marriage, the process doesn’t have to be complicated. Here at Hattons, one of our roles is to ensure that divorce proceedings are managed as smoothly as possible to ensure that both parties can go their separate ways, with fair settlements, in order to enjoy a happier future apart.

Get Help With Contesting Unreasonable Behaviour

Get help with unreasonable behaviour

If you have been served divorce papers stating unreasonable behaviour that you do not agree with, then you will need the support of a solicitor specialising in family law and divorce proceedings. 

A solicitor will be able to guide you towards a fair settlement, ensure you are protected from future legal claims against your estate, and can work to facilitate an agreement between both parties so that they agree on the grounds for divorce.

At Hattons Solicitors we have a team of family law solicitors dedicated to dealing with all matters of divorce and separation on behalf of our clients in and around the North West of England.

From the simplest, to the most complex of cases, we can help. From informal discussions about your divorce options to assisting with contesting allegations of unreasonable behaviour against you, and proceeding with formal divorce proceedings on your behalf, we are here to answer any questions that you may have in confidence.


Talk to Hattons Solicitors today

Click this link to send us a message or call us on 01744 744400 for a friendly chat.


What Is Unreasonable Behaviour?

There is no definitive list of unreasonable behaviour but this fact for divorce is usually cited in situations

surrounding the following kinds of incidents between a married couple:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Excessive/lack of sex
  • Unreasonable sexual demands
  • Inappropriate association/relationship with another person
  • Debt/financial recklessness
  • Verbal abuse, shouting or belittling;
  • Social isolation
  • Excessive/lack of socialising
  • Drunkenness, and
  • Coercion including financial control

If you are in any doubt as to whether your behaviour towards your spouse can be considered unreasonable and used to issue divorce proceedings against you, please contact an experienced family law solicitor to discuss the matter in more detail. 

Find Out More:

Read our full article on unreasonable behaviour in divorce to understand more about these kinds of behaviours and going through a divorce.

Accused Of Unreasonable Behaviour? What Are Your Options?

If you have received a divorce petition from the courts stating allegations of unreasonable behaviour against you that you do not agree with, then there are several options that you can take when it comes to acknowledging the petition.

You can: 

  1. Defend the divorce – this option isn’t very commonly used but if you believe the marriage has not broken down as your spouse says, then this route could prevent the divorce from being granted.
  2. Contest or challenge the allegations made against you – do this by raising your concerns when you respond to the divorce petition in the acknowledgement of service
  3. Cross petition the divorce – This is where you put forward your own facts for divorce after your spouse has started the proceedings. The Court can then decide whose facts to accept.

Whichever route you choose to follow, a divorce lawyer can talk you through the options available to you and advise you on the best way to respond or challenge in order to achieve the best outcome for you.


If you have been served divorce papers citing your unreasonable behaviour as the grounds for divorce but you disagree with the behaviour identified, then you can contest the claims of unreasonable behaviour against you with the help of a solicitor specialising in family and divorce law.

A divorce lawyer can advise you on the best way to respond to the allegations, including defending the divorce, cross-petitioning or explaining that you disagree with the allegations

Examples of unreasonable behaviour that your spouse can cite against you include; being subjected to physical violence, sexual abuse, social isolation, verbal abuse, substance abuse including alcohol or narcotics, if you have started a relationship with somebody of the same sex outside of your marriage, and if you have refused to pay towards shared living expenses.

If you would like assistance contesting unreasonable behaviour, or would like to start divorce proceedings yourself, Hattons Solicitors can help. Please use our contact form or call 01744 744400 to speak to our experienced team of family lawyers specialising in these matters.

Hattons Solicitors is based in St Helens, Merseyside. The firm has been providing efficient, affordable and high-quality legal services to members of the public and the wider business community since 2001. Professional excellence and quality of work is reinforced by its Law Society Lexcel Accreditation, and membership to the Law Society. Our friendly team of solicitors will always listen to you and your needs before working with you to deliver the approach that best meets your individual needs.

Posted on: 06/Apr/2021 Posted in: Family Law
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