Unreasonable Behaviour Divorce Examples – Do You Have Grounds for Divorce?
In Divorce matters, unreasonable behaviour means that your spouse has behaved in a way that means you cannot be reasonably expected to live with them. Examples of unreasonable behaviour when divorcing your husband or wife include but are not limited to; being subjected to physical violence, verbal abuse, substance abuse including alcohol or narcotics, social isolation, coercive behaviour, financial coercion, if your partner has started a relationship with somebody of the same sex outside of your marriage, and if they refuse to pay towards shared living expenses.
Unreasonable behaviour is one of five legal grounds for divorce in the UK but what actually constitutes unreasonable behaviour and when can you use it in divorce proceedings? This article aims to cover this topic in more detail.
Reasons For Marriage Breakdowns
Sadly, over a third of all marriages in England and Wales have ended in divorce in the last 50 years and even with the number of marriages going down, the number of divorces remain high. Relationships are hard and there can be lots of reasons that people decide to get divorced. Quite often, when a relationship has broken down, divorce, although not a desirable outcome, can be the best way for both parties to enjoy a happier future.
Some of the most common reasons that couples decide to end their marriages can be categorised as unreasonable behaviour, and this is one of five legal grounds of divorce that can be used when petitioning to end your marriage.
If your husband or wife has committed an act of unreasonable behaviour, then you may be considering getting a divorce or may even be at a point where you are ready to start divorce proceedings against them. In either case, 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 and ensure that you are protected from future legal disagreements with your spouse, meaning you can move on with your life.
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 in drafting allegations of unreasonable behaviour that a court will accept, and proceeding with formal divorce proceedings on your behalf, we are here to answer any questions that you may have in confidence.
Click this link to send us a message or call us on 01744 744400 for a friendly chat.
Read on for more detailed information on the examples of unreasonable behaviour outlined above, when they can be used to start divorce proceedings and how a solicitor is able to help you navigate the difficult and stressful process of ending a marriage due to the unreasonable behaviour of your spouse.
What Is Unreasonable Behaviour?
When talking about divorce, ‘unreasonable behaviour’ is the term used to describe that an individual’s spouse has behaved in a way that means they cannot be reasonably expected to continue living with them.
As there isn’t a definitive list of unreasonable behaviours, this reason for divorce can cover a wide variety of circumstances. From seriously damaging behaviours to petty arguments, unreasonable behaviour of any kind can lead to the dissolution of a relationship and be considered by the courts.
If you are in any doubt as to what can be classified as unreasonable behaviour, contacting an experienced family law solicitor should be your first port of call.
A solicitor will be able to help you draft the allegations of unreasonable behaviour when completing the petition for divorce in a way that will satisfy a judge, and in some cases, they may also take steps to agree the allegation with the other party in advance of serving the papers. This can help to keep a difficult process as amiable as possible.
Has My Partner Acted Unreasonably? Examples Of Unreasonable Behaviour.
With so many acts that could be classed as unreasonable behaviour, it’s hard to know what can or cannot be used as a reason to file for divorce. To put this into context and give you a clearer picture of what can be used as a reason to use this grounds for divorce, we have included a list of some of the most common examples of unreasonable behaviour below:
- 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
It’s worth noting that not all marriages come to an end because of the extreme types of behaviour listed above. Quite often people in relationships can just drift apart. Sadly though, when this happens, you still need a legal ground for divorce which can be hard if neither party has actually done anything severely wrong.
In cases like these, to successfully petition for divorce, when you haven’t been separated for over 2 years, then you will likely need to find a less extreme example of unreasonable behaviour to cite in the divorce petition. For example, your spouse is working long hours and is never at home.
Will Unreasonable Behaviour Be Accepted When Still Living Together?
A divorce court may refuse to grant the petition of whether you can reasonably be expected to live with your spouse if you continue to live with your husband or wife for a cumulative period of more than 6 months after the last alleged incident of unreasonable behaviour.
You should be aware though that living in the same house as somebody isn’t the same as cohabitation. If you and your partner are still living under the same roof but are leading very separate lives, e.g not eating and sleeping together or sharing housework, then the six month time period can be disregarded by the courts when the petition cites unreasonable behaviour as the grounds for divorce.
If you are worried about this clause holding up divorce proceedings, you should initiate your divorce within six months of the unreasonable behaviour taking place as this then removes the need for the court to question the grounds for divorce.
What Other Reasons Can You Get Divorced?
There are five legal facts for divorce in English and Welsh law. We have covered unreasonable behaviour in this article, but you can also start divorce proceedings against your husband or wife for four other reasons. However, in all cases, to formally end your marriage, you must have been married for at least one year and be able to show that your relationship has broken down irreconcilably due to one of the following five reasons:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separated for at least 2 years
- Separated for at least 5 years
Find Out More: For more information on each of these reasons for divorce, please see our article: Grounds For Divorce – When Can You Legally Start Divorce Proceedings
What Does A Divorce Lawyer Do?
Experienced divorce lawyers, like the team here at Hattons will aim to guide you towards a fair settlement and ensure that you are protected against future legal disagreements with your spouse so that you can move on with your life.
In addition to this, as well as managing all legal requirements relating to the preparation and submission of divorce papers, settlement agreements and communications with the other party, a divorce lawyer can also act as a mediator or introduce you to reputable third parties that can provide a mediation service.
Mediation gives both parties a chance to resolve their differences and discuss the reasons that they may be considering a divorce with the intention of trying to save the marriage. See the full range of divorce services available from Hattons Solicitors here.
Click this link to send us a message or call us on 01744 744400 for a friendly chat.
If you or your spouse have committed an act that can be classified as unreasonable behaviour, then you have legal grounds for divorce. This article has explained what constitutes unreasonable behaviour in the eyes of the divorce courts and how you can start the process of ending your marriage by using this reason to petition for divorce.
To recap, you must have been married for at least one year and be able to show that at least one act of unreasonable behaviour has occurred either once or over a period of time. Examples of unreasonable behaviour include being subjected to physical violence, sexual abuse, social isolation, verbal abuse, substance abuse including alcohol or narcotics, if your partner has started a relationship with somebody of the same sex outside of your marriage, and if they refuse to pay towards shared living expenses.
If you would like to discuss starting divorce proceedings against your husband or wife, or would like to get the process started, 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: 21/Feb/2021 Posted in: Family Law