Last Updated on 5.1.18 by Nicola Fraser
For any divorce lawyer with a decade (or several) under their belt, there is decidedly little about the human condition that will shock or surprise. No wonder either that the vast majority of divorces are brought upon the basis of “unreasonable behaviour”. We are after all a nation that loves to throw stones most usually from our own glass houses.
Maybe the need to blame others is in our DNA because despite an increasingly secular society a “no fault” divorce has yet to be put on the statue books. It is of interest however that April 2014 saw the available room for listing your partner’s faults on a divorcepetition shrink to approximately 2 inches of A4 – very possibly as a result of the increasing numbers of litigants in person with burning desires to “offload”.
What is “unreasonable behaviour though”? Quite frankly, because the legal test is subjective, it could be anything at all that causes the other spouse upset. Perhaps not merely leaving the toilet seat up or the toothpaste cap off, but certainly even “behaviour” beyond your partner’s control such as their suffering an accident or developing an illness is sufficient to successfully assert unreasonable behaviour on their part if it causes you upset and leads to your being unhappy to live your life with them anymore.
Sometimes “behaviour” is glaringly obvious in the form of domestic violence or financial deception and fraud and at other times it is more subtle – an erosion of a person’s happiness by the delivery of well-aimed personal “digs” designed to undermine and upset. Most often of all it is in the absence of any demonstrable concern, affection or interest.
It should be noted that it is not necessary for your spouse to agree with your allegations in order for you to proceed, as such if after 12 months of marriage either of you are unhappy then a divorce based upon unreasonable behaviour will take 5 to 6 months to deal with, meaning that your marriage could be over in less time than it took the plan the big day. It is of course true to say that the fall-out in respect of children and money can take somewhat longer to resolve, but equally, for many life is short and personal happiness a basic human goal. So if your team isn’t working, then maybe like Brazil, it is time to re-think.