To progress a divorce or a civil partnership dissolution on this basis, it must be shown that the Respondent (the person receiving the divorce) has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner (the person applying for the divorce) cannot be reasonably expected to live with them. For the sake of brevity, any reference below to “divorce” is a reference to either the divorce of a traditional marriage or a civil partnership dissolution – the law is identical in respect of this issue.
Whilst applying for a divorce on this ground may be construed as a hostile act, it is often the case that both parties agree the divorce should be progressed this way to achieve a quick result. This is particularly the case if the parties discuss matters before any formal action is taken.
When considering the particulars to be included in the divorce petition, it is worth noting that there is no set definition as to what constitutes unreasonable behaviour. Therefore, the particulars to be detailed in the petition are subjective to the Petitioner and will subsequently be considered in their own right by the Court to determine if they are sufficient for a divorce to be granted.
However, when considering the particulars, the Court will generally adopt a sensible approach and are aware that, if an individual feels so strongly about the behaviour of their partner that they issue divorce proceedings, then the marriage has clearly irretrievably broken down and it would be senseless to ignore this or stand in the way of the divorce proceeding.
This approach by the Courts is very useful as it allows divorce petitions to be drafted in a way so as to avoid unnecessary acrimony between the parties.
Common examples of unreasonable behaviour include the following:
- Domestic abuse
- Unreasonable sexual demands
- Lack of sex
- Financial recklessness
- Verbal abuse
- Social isolation
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Partners – S Bagha LLB Hons, J Bass LLB Hons, R Green LLB Hons, L McLaughlin LLB Hons, L Silk BA Hons & J Sole LLB Hons
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