Examples of Unreasonable Behaviour in Divorce

A complete guide to using unreasonable behaviour in England and Wales as your grounds for divorce.

The most common examples of unreasonable behaviour

  1. Domestic abuse
  2. Lack of sex
  3. Family disputes
  4. Inappropriate relationship with another person
  5. Debt/financial recklessness
  6. Verbal abuse, shouting or belittling
  7. Obsessive Hobby
  8. Lack of socialising
  9. Drunkenness
  10. Lack of support

The most common way to divorce in UK is to use unreasonable behaviour as your grounds for divorce.

It’s largely used because in UK divorce law we do not have a no-fault divorce system, which means one party must blame the other in order to obtain a divorce unless they are prepared to wait for a minimum period of 2 years separation.

Two years of separation is too long to wait for most couples. They want a quick divorce so they can move on with their lives.

If both parties are in agreement with the divorce, using unreasonable behaviour can be a quick and easy way to end your marriage.

Divorce proceedings regardless of the grounds for divorce can only be initiated after a period of 12 months of marriage.

In most cases, the grounds you choose to base your divorce on will not affect the time in which it takes the court to grant your decree absolute.

However, if your spouse digs his or her feet in or doesn’t respond to paperwork, the divorce process can be prolonged, that’s why we recommended calling us on 01793 384 029 for free and impartial advice.

The intention of this post is to help you understand what unreasonable behaviour actually means and what behaviour is classed as being ‘unreasonable’ so you can ensure you have enough examples of unreasonable behaviour to satisfy the court and judge.

What constitutes unreasonable behaviour?

The allegations you make for unreasonable behaviour are unique to your relationship and must contain the inappropriate behaviour of your spouse and cannot contain your own behaviour.

Here are some examples of common unreasonable behaviour reasons given on divorce petitions:

Domestic Abuse

The Respondent has been physically violent towards the Petitioner, which has caused the Petitioner obvious upset and distress.

Lack of sex

The parties have not had a sexual relationship [insert date], which has been caused by the Respondent’s behaviour, leaving the Petitioner distressed.

Family disputes

The Respondent has always disliked the Petitioners family, which has led to the Petitioner feeling isolated from them and thus causing [him/her] distress.

Inappropriate relationship with another person

The petitioner believes that the Respondent has formed an improper relationship with another [man/women], which has caused the Petitioner distress.

Debt/financial recklessness

The parties have argued over money issues for some time. These arguments have been fuelled by the Respondent’s attitude and behaviour.

Verbal abuse, shouting or belittling

The Respondent has regularly belittled the Petitioner, both in private and on occasion in public, causing the Petitioner to lose self-esteem.

Obsessive Hobby

The Respondent is obsessed by [insert relevant hobby] and spends most [his/her] free time in this pursuit to the exclusion of the family.

Lack of socialising

The Respondent has consistently shown little or no interest in socialising with the Petitioner or [his/her] friends and has made no effort to do so.


The Respondent often drinks excessively, in the view of the Petitioner, which causes [him/her] to behave in an [irresponsible/aggressive/unpleasant] manner, causing the Petitioner distress.

Lack of support

The Respondent has consistently refused to assist around the house, leaving all such matters to the Petitioner, despite regular requests to the contrary.

It’s important to stress that your allegations of unreasonable behaviour don’t need to be serious; mild allegations, such as not socialising together or sharing the same bed usually suffice when parties are agreed to the divorce.

Practical tips on filing for divorce

Divorce is a stressful and painful time for most people, so this article is intended to provide you with practical ways in which to reduce the stress and cost of your divorce using unreasonable behaviour.

Here are 4 simple tips that we advise each client to do (if possible) when filing for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

1. Write down the behaviour allegations

Use a pen and paper to write down the behaviours of your husband or wife that caused the marriage to breakdown.

This ground can at first sound quite daunting, so writing down all of the allegations on paper first can make it seem more manageable and straightforward.

2. Agree on the reasons with your spouse

Reaching agreement isn’t always possible, but if you are amicable with your ex-partner it will enable you to agree on the reasons for divorce.

Agreeing on the reasons or allegations will provide for a quicker, easier and more straightforward divorce procedure.

3. File for divorce within 6 months

Filing for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour should be done within 6 months of the behaviour taking place and the marriage breaking down.

This will remove any questioning from the court about the reasons or the allegations, which will remove any unwanted stress.

4. The allegations should be true

The allegations you make against your husband or wife must be true. If allegations are made that are false, it can delay the divorce proceedings due to your spouse contesting the divorce.

How to get a divorce using Unreasonable Behaviour

Divorce-Online is not only a quicker and cheaper alternative to hiring high-street solicitors, but it’s also a more streamlined and stress-free way to deal with a stressful and painful process, such like a divorce.


Make a secure payment online

Complete our secure online order form to get started. A one-off payment of £189 is required, which covers both parties.


Complete questionnaire

Complete a simple online questionnaire so we can obtain the details we need in order to draft your divorce papers for you.


Receive your divorce papers

Your divorce papers will now be drafted, checked to ensure they are accurate and then sent to you within 24-hours along with a detailed guide to follow.


Start your divorce proceedings

Once returned to us, we’ll start your divorce proceedings by securely filing your divorce papers with the court.

You are in safe hands… Divorce-Online is the #1 rated Online Divorce Provider!

You can be assured of an excellent service when choosing Divorce-Online to help you obtain a divorce using unreasonable behaviour. Read over 2,650+ independent reviews to see why our clients love us.

“I selected Divorce Online earlier this year to handle all aspects of my divorce as i needed a fairly swift, easy and inexpensive solution. They delivered on all fronts which made a difficult situation easier and pain free.”. See latest reviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

A divorce can be initiated using unreasonable behaviour after a minimum of 12 months of marriage.

However, if you are cohabiting with your spouse for a period of more than 6 months after the last alleged unreasonable behaviour, the court may refuse to grant the divorce petition.

If the court refuses to grant the divorce, it will be as part of the consideration of whether you can reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.

If the petition is refused, you may need to wait until you have been separated for 2 years and divorce using that ground.

Yes, the £189 fixed-fee price we charge for our Unreasonable Behaviour Divorce Service covers both parties and includes VAT. It is one of the most comprehensive services available and provides an unrivalled level of service.

As mentioned earlier in the article, mild allegations can suffice in most cases, such as not sharing the same interests, socialising separately or one spouse working too long hours. If you are unsure, please call us for free advice on 01793 384 029 and we’ll be sure to help ease your mind.

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