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COVID-19 UPDATE: Goodwins is committed to delivering high-quality service while keeping our staff and clients safe. Currently, courts remain open and our team will continue to operate as normal, but all consultations and meetings will now be made via video call. Click here to view our full response to COVID-19.

FAQ: What does ‘unreasonable behaviour’ mean in divorce?

Unreasonable behaviour is one of the five grounds for divorce accepted in England and Wales. Of the five, this is the most common.

The definition of unreasonable behaviour is if your spouse has behaved – or has continued to behave – in such a way that makes it impossible to live with them, leading to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. There are numerous forms of unreasonable behaviour, with most divorce petitions citing multiple examples. These may include:

  • Alcoholism or excessive drinking
  • Drug abuse
  • Domestic abuse – physical, mental, verbal
  • Being emotionally unsupportive
  • Not spending enough time at home with you or the rest of the family
  • Financially irresponsible
  • Is a danger to themselves, you or your children
  • Lack of sexual relationship, showing lack of intimacy
  • Manipulative, undermining or oppressive behaviour

Related: What are the grounds for divorce in England and Wales?

Unreasonable behaviour can be extreme, or it can be fairly mild. Even mild examples can add up to lead to an unhappy, unworkable, unsatisfying or irredeemable marriage. When building a divorce petition, your legal advisor will help you to select those which are most likely to lead to an uncontested divorce.

If you would like to arrange an initial fixed fee consultation regarding divorce proceedings, you can get in touch with us today for a confidential discussion and we’ll be happy to help. Our offices are conveniently based in Harrow, London, with on site car parking and accessible from public transport links. Alternatively, if you are overseas we can arrange a Skype call with you if it is more convenient.

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