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Examples of Unreasonable Behaviour in Divorce

The most common way to divorce in the 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.

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

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:

Examples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

he 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.

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

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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.

If your relationship has drifted apart without any of the behaviours listed above taking place, you can look at using some of these milder examples of inappropriate behaviour:

  • The Respondent prefers to spend time with their pet than the Petitioner.
  • The Respondent refuses to talk about marital problems.
  • The Respondent doesn’t give general support to the Petitioner, e.g. with housework.
  • The Respondent works long hours and is often away from home, leaving the Petitioner to feel stressed and lonely.
  • The respondent plays video games for long hours and leaves the Petitioner alone.

What time limits are involved?

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.

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 to 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 Started With Your Divorce

Our divorce solicitors will handle the entire divorce procedure for you, from start-to-finish and unlike high-street solicitors, there’s no need to visit our offices any time point.

You will provide us with the information we need via an online questionnaire and be provided with direct contact information for your divorce solicitor to ensure you can stay up-to-date throughout the process.

1

Find your ideal service

Find the right service for your situation and budget and complete the simple order form to get started. You simply need to make a one-off secure payment to get started with your service.

2

Complete online questionnaire

Log in to your online account and complete the initial questionnaire. We’ll use this basic information to draft your divorce papers without needing you to visit our offices.

3

Sign & return divorce papers

You now need to sign the completed divorce papers we send you. We show you exactly where you need to sign and once this is done, you need to return them back to us.

4

Track your divorce online

You can now use your online account to track your entire divorce procedure. We’ll notify you at each stage to ensure you don’t need to chase us for updates on your case.

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Can I Get Divorced Online?

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Click ‘Get Started’ and answer 4 simple questions to find out if an online divorce is suitable for you circumstances.

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Are both parties in agreement to the divorce?
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Additional Information

An online divorce is suitable for couples that are in agreement. The Courts will need to send paperwork to your spouse for them to sign and return, which means that to answer Yes above, you will need to know where your ex-parter lives.

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Additional Information

Your marriage must have lasted at least 12 months before being able to file for divorce in England and Wales. Speak to our friendly advisers for free advice on your options if you haven’t been married for a year yet.

Legal Advice Service - £99

Speak to our family law solicitors to receive professional legal advice to understand your legal position and where you stand in relation to a financial split.

  • Legal advice is given on your legal position
  • 1-hour telephone call with your solicitor
  • Instantly schedule a call in with your solicitor
  • One low-cost fixed-fee payment of £99
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Does either party consider England or Wales to be their permanent home?
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Additional Information

If you live abroad but still see England or Wales as your permanent home then you can still apply for a divorce online. To see England or Wales as your permanent home you’ll need to have business assets, property etc here.

Scottish Divorce Services

To get a divorce in England or Wales, one party to the divorce must see England or Wales as their permanent home.

The only other services we provide is for Scottish residents.

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Do you have any of the following grounds for divorce? Select the most applicable option.
2 Years Separation - With Agreement
Unreasonable Behaviour
5 Years Separation - No Consent Required
Adultery
Desertion (Rarely Used)
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As part of each of our services, we’ll advise you on the best grounds for divorce and draft the divorce papers for you based on the ground that will obtain your decree absolute the quickest and with the least amount of stress and acrimony.

Your Situation Is Suitable For a Divorce Online ✅

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Your Situation Is Suitable For a Divorce Online ✅

Now you know that your situation is suitable to get an online divorce, you need to find the ideal service for your circumstances and budget.

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  • You'll save over £1,000 with each service.
  • We advise you on the grounds for divorce.
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Your Situation Is Suitable For a Divorce Online ✅

Now you know that your situation is suitable to get an online divorce, you need to find the ideal service for your circumstances and budget.

Answer a few questions about your situation to be matched with the service you need.

  • You'll save over £1,000 with each service.
  • We advise you on the grounds for divorce.
  • It takes under 2 minutes to find a service.
Which Divorce Service Do I Need

Your Situation Is Suitable For a Divorce Online ✅

Now you know that your situation is suitable to get an online divorce, you need to find the ideal service for your circumstances and budget.

Answer a few questions about your situation to be matched with the service you need.

  • You'll save over £1,000 with each service.
  • We advise you on the grounds for divorce.
  • It takes under 2 minutes to find a service.
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Additional Information

If you know where your ex-partner lives then the divorce procedure is a lot more straightforward and cheaper. If you have lost touch and don't have an address for your spouse where paperwork can be sent to, then the process is more long-winded and requires more work. However, this can still be dealt with using an online divorce service.

Your Situation Is Suitable For a Divorce Online ✅

Now you know that your situation is suitable to get an online divorce, you need to find the ideal service for your circumstances and budget.

Answer a few questions about your situation to be matched with the service you need.

  • You'll save over £1,000 with each service.
  • We advise you on the grounds for divorce.
  • It takes under 2 minutes to find a service.
Which Divorce Service Do I Need

Divorce Online Without an Address for £349

Due to the nature of your circumstances, you require a specific service. This service will help you obtain a divorce when you don't have an address for your ex-parter without needing to instruct solicitors and spend over £2,000 on your divorce.

As part of this service, we will manage your application through the courts and ensure that you obtain a decree absolute with the least amount of stress possible.

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