27 May, 2020
Although there has been a lot of talk about a no-fault divorce, spouses who have been separated for less than 2 years still have to "blame" the other. They must satisfy the court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably using either their spouse's adultery or their spouse's unreasonable behaviour. To obtain a divorce based on adultery, your spouse must admit to committing the same. It is usual that people do not like to admit that they have committed adultery and therefore, most divorce petitions are based on the other person's unreasonable behaviour. Although it is possible to obtain a no-fault divorce, many people do not wish to wait for 2 years before petitioning for divorce.
There is no set list of behaviours that the court accept are unreasonable. It is subjective, so something that you may find unreasonable may not be to someone else. You must satisfy the court that your spouse's behaviour is so unreasonable that YOU cannot be expected to live with them anymore. We usually advise clients that they include around 6 examples of unreasonable behaviour, and no two divorce petitions are ever the same. However, common examples are:
There are some occasions, when a client will provide you with some examples of unreasonable behaviour that you have never seen before. On the 26 May 2020, the Daily Mail published an article on some of the most "bizarre" examples that divorce lawyers have seen. These are self-reported examples, as divorce proceedings are private, and members of the public are never able to obtain copies. Some of these unusual examples are:
Until the option of a no-fault divorce in England and Wales is available, more and more people will petition based on their spouse's unreasonable behaviour, and it is guaranteed that we will see more and more unusual examples of unreasonable behaviour.
For more information contact Rachael Sutcliffe in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 01772 220 022. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.