What Is Unreasonable Behaviour?

‘Unreasonable behaviour’ is one of the most common reasons used for divorce in the UK but this doesn’t mean that it is considered an acceptable reason in all cases.  

The law in England and Wales doesn’t currently have a ‘no fault divorce’ system which means divorces can only happen for one of the following reasons:  

  • Adultery  
  • Unreasonable behaviour  
  • 2 years’ of separation with consent  
  • 5 years’ separation  
  • Desertion   

Of the five methods mentioned above, ‘unreasonable behaviour’ is the least clear cut but in most cases offers a faster and easier route out of a marriage.  

You don’t need the consent of your spouse to when using unreasonable behaviour as a reason for divorce and there are no long waits for a petition to be issued.     

The only difficulty lies in proving unreasonable behaviour. Unreasonable behaviour can either be violence towards a partner or mental abuse. In either case it must be stated what the nature of the abuse was and the effect of it on the petitioner.  

Sometimes what the petitioner considers to be unreasonable behaviour is viewed as not unreasonable enough to be used as a reason for divorce. This can effectively trap a person in a marriage for several more years before a divorce can take place.  

It is important therefore to seek advice early in the process to ensure that a divorce being sought on the basis of unreasonable behaviour is seen as such by the court rather than an attempt to find an easy way out of a marriage.

Categories: Lund Bennett