29 March 2021

Divorce based on unreasonable behaviour

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There is only one ground for divorce i.e. your marriage has irretrievably broken down. There are five ways/facts in which you can satisfy the court that this is the case. One of those facts is called “unreasonable behaviour” and is often the most used.

The fact of unreasonable behaviour requires you to demonstrate to the court that your spouse has behaved so unreasonably that you can no longer be expected to live with them. The question which then arises is how do you do this?

When arguing the fact of unreasonable behaviour, you do not need physical proof to support your position when you file for divorce. Instead, you will need to provide an account of why you feel that you can no longer be expected to live with your partner. This is usually done by submitting a “Statement of Case” with your divorce petition which explains your position.

Based on your position and experiences, the court is then likely to consider whether it would be reasonable for a “right-thinking person” to continue living with the spouse in question. This means that the court should assess your position from both an objective and subjective standard.

A breakdown of marriage is a difficult thing to talk about for many reasons. It may be difficult for you to relive some events or simply know how to word your experiences. For example, it may be that you do not wish to spoil your relationship with your spouse and are therefore concerned about how you can word the unreasonable behaviour. Here are some tips to help you:

You should try to make a list of the significant incidents that occurred during the marriage.

  • You do not need to talk about every single event that has led to the breakdown of your marriage. Giving a reasonable account of three or four incidents that have occurred during the marriage is enough.
  • It is helpful to speak of the last or ongoing event which led you to decide that divorce is the right step for you.
  • You do not need to give the exact time and date of when the incident occurred. This may not be possible for you to do especially if you are describing incidents that occurred in a long marriage. You simply need to be able to point (roughly) to when the incident occurred.

You should be able to explain how those incidents made you feel and how you feel they impacted your marriage, and not just when they occurred.

  • Avoid using unnecessary and inflammatory language.
  • If possible, speak to your spouse about what you intend on writing in your statement to avoid any disputes.

If you need help filing for divorce, we have experts who can help you through this difficult process


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.

About the Author

Mahnoor has extensive experience in dealing with various types of in-country and out-of-country immigration matters. This includes advising and assisting clients on a vast spectrum of immigration applications, ranging from Entry Clearance to British citizenship.

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