90 seconds with Christopher Goodwin on… Unreasonable? Who? Me?

The most common ground for divorce in England and Wales where the parties do not want to see out periods of separation, is unreasonable behaviour.

Christopher Goodwin, Peacock Law

The most common ground for divorce in England and Wales where the parties do not want to see out periods of separation before commencing proceedings, is unreasonable behaviour.

Parties are encouraged to agree a form of Petition which does not contain allegations to which the Respondent may take exception. This may result in anodyne particulars which can make it appear that the behaviour is not that bad.

However most family lawyers advise clients not to contest Petitions because it is expensive to do so and the Judiciary are not in favour of parties arguing about the reasons for the breakdown. Cost and expediency override the wounded feelings of the spouse.

However, in a recent case a Judge refused to grant the wife a divorce on the basis of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour. This raised the issue of whether many parties are being divorced on grounds which do not pass muster. The Judge took the view that in spite of the wife’s Petition raising some 27 incidents of alleged unreasonable behaviour they did not constitute behaviour that was anything more than could reasonably be expected to happen in any marriage.

Where does this leave the spouse who no longer wishes to live with their partner but has tried not to inflame what may be an already volatile situation by keeping the allegations in the Petition as bland as possible? Are spouses now going to have to include more contentious allegations so as to ensure the best possible chance of obtaining their divorce even if it is opposed by the other party?

Do people, as some lawyers consider necessary, want a change whereby a divorce can be obtained on a no fault basis without the need to play the blame game? In any event, should a spouse be left in a marriage which they do not want?

This article was written by Christopher Goodwin

Please note the contents contained in this article are for general guidance only. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters.

More Articles

Forward thinking

Over recent weeks we will all have spent more time at home, but...

Written by Gemma Hughes

90 seconds with Charles Hylton-Potts on… The Consumer Rights Act 2015

What standards must goods meet? They must be of satisfactory quality, fit for...

Written by Charles Hylton-Potts

Family Dispute Resolution Week… Putting Children First

If you would like to discuss any family matter, please contact our Family...

Find out how we can help you


© Peacock & Co 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Peacock & Co is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.