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Unreasonable Behaviour

Unreasonable Behaviour what is it?

In order for court to grant a divorce a judge needs to be sure of one fact, the marriage has irretrievably broken down, this is the only reason court will allow a divorce in England and Wales.

To show this is the case one of five factors must be used.

Unreasonable behaviour
Separation of two years by consent
Separation of five years no consent needed

For a multitude of reason many petitioners chose Unreasonable behaviour.

So what is it, what counts?.

In short it is behaviour that you personally find unreasonable to the extent you no longer with to live with your spouse and be financially and legally connected.

Some behaviour is widely accepted as unreasonable, shouting swearing aggression violence the list is endless but look from another angle.

Lets say you have OCD and your wife knowing this decides to start leaving the loo seat up (irony) is that unreasonable well yes it is.

Lets say you now want to divorce your husband for his heavy drinking but you knew he drank too much when you married him and have lived with it for years, is that unreasonable, well no you married a drunk and lived with it for years so you cannot use it to show the marriage has broken down.

Often you will read you need six or so reasons for the particulars of the petition but not necessarily, a single act may have led to the end of the marriage violence for example, that said its very easy to add to the act of violence to make the particulars more expansive.

Often people who just drift apart struggle to find examples that would convince a judge the marriage is over, if you analyze it though examples will flow, do you still talk and not just about work or whats for dinner but intimate thoughts and feelings.

An easy test is to think back to when you were still in love, what did you talk about then how were you with each other?.

How is your sex life mundane none existent even, all these issues go to show there was a breakdown of communication which is a very common cause of marital breakdown, it tends to lead to two people living their own lives in the same house, having their own social circle social life, all valid reasons that can be used to show the marriage is over.

Some caution is needed when you decide what reasons to use because it is a judge who will read them, for this reason its not wise to use anything relating to children or violence for most, obviously if a serious incident has occurred its a matter for the police, but if a criminal allegation is made and the police were not involved the judge is duty bound to decide if the allegation merits further investigation.

Once you have your reasons (particulars) you should send the petition to the respondent to be agreed or perhaps agree some changes, you don`t have to agree to amend your reasons but you do need to send them to the respondent first, its not to nice its the way court say it should be done.

If you can sit down with your other half and agree the reasons if you can there will be no problems when court send the petition, there will be no shock and therefore no defense or cross petition which saves you both much time and stress not to mention money if lawyers become involved.

One common mistake with unreasonable behaviour is to use reasons going back some time, court will only accept reasons relating to the last six months or the last six months living together, any longer than that and a judge may well refuse the petition not accepting the particulars ended the marriage because you lived with them for so long.

When it comes to writing section 13 (the reasons bit) keep it fairly brief and double space each paragraph so its easy for the judge to read, whatever you do don`t write the history of the marriage in essay form.

Hope it helps someone in the future.

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Does this apply to Scotland as well? Thank you.
It only mentions England and Wales. What about Scotland?

Bonita - for information about divorce in Scotland, please see our Scotland micro-site - www.wikivorce.com/divorce/scotland

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