Divorce in the UK is founded on a fault-based system, meaning that one of the spouses has to prove that there is a legal ground for divorce (unless separation for at least two years has occurred). The most common ground cited for divorce in the UK is unreasonable behaviour. However, this may not be as accurate as it sounds.

While people often refer to reasonable behaviour as a ‘ground for divorce’, technically the only ground for divorce is that a marriage has irreversibly broken down. If you wish to file for a divorce on the basis of unreasonable behaviour, you will have to prove that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with your spouse and this can be achieved with the help of Andrew & Andrew family solicitors in Portsmouth.

What is unreasonable behaviour?

The test for unreasonable behaviour in a divorce case was established in the 1974 case Livingstone-Stallard v Livingstone-Stallard, where Justice Dunn concluded that, ‘Would any right-thinking person come to the conclusion that this husband has behaved in such a way that this wife cannot reasonably be expected to live with him, taking into account the whole of the circumstances and the character and personalities of the parties?’.

In other words, if one spouse finds something that the other spouse does is unacceptable, they can define this as unreasonable behaviour. It can’t be completely trivial however, there’s got to be some substance to it. Your family solicitors in Portsmouth will advise you on common behaviours that constitute unreasonable behaviour including disrespect, heavy criticism, allegations, financial abuse and arguments about the upbringing of children. If unreasonable behaviour is founded on violence and abuse, then only one allegation may be enough as your family solicitors in Portsmouth will advise you.

On the other hand, if the example of unreasonable behaviour you present is not serious enough, the court will ask for more than one allegation (usually up to 4 or 5 detailed explanations as to your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour are enough), in order to be satisfied that the marriage cannot continue as it stands.

We are here to help

Unreasonable behaviour is very specific to each situation and for this reason, it’s best to get advice from our family solicitors in Portsmouth.