Examples of Unreasonable Behaviour to Divorce Your Partner

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Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 11:20 AM
Examples of unreasonable behaviour

We do not yet have ‘no-fault divorce’ in England and Wales (though the law is changing on this in late 2021) which means, one person has to divorce the other, turning the process into a blame game. This can cause unnecessary acrimony at times of high emotional stress. Below are examples of Unreasonable Behaviour and how to keep things amicable if you’re using this as your reason for divorce.

First of all, have you done your research?

There are five reasons you can use to prove to the courts that your marriage has broken down past the point of repair. For example, have you been living independently for two years or have you been apart for over five years? Read amicable’s guide on all the grounds for divorce here if you’re unsure.

The most common reason used is unreasonable behaviour and if you agree this is the most relevant for you then you and your ex must agree who is going to divorce who.

Petitioner Vs Respondent – what’s the difference?

The Petitioner is basically the person who starts the divorce, fills in most of the paper work and deals with the court. The Respondent is the person who has ‘behaved unreasonably’.

What unreasonable behaviour examples can be used to divorce?

The court needs proof that your marriage has broken down, some examples of this behaviour include;

  • Lack of emotional support
  • Violence / Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Financially irresponsible e.g. failure to support the family, household costs.
  • Lack of support in general, around the house, in your career etc
  • Gambling on a frequent basis and/or creating debt without your knowledge
  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Refusal to discuss/work on issues within the marriage
  • Not wanting to engage in any sexual or physical relations
  • Limited socialising happens as a couple

How should I word examples of unreasonable behaviour?

A selection of the above examples will not be enough for the court to decide whether your divorce should be allowed. You need to provide specific examples (around five in total) about what, when and how it made you feel. For example;

The Petitioner has not had sexual relations with the Respondent since March 2015.

“The Respondent stopped making financial contributions to the family home in January 2015 which led the Petitioner to pay for all the household bills, causing the Petitioner stress and anxiety.”

“The Respondent and the Petitioner stopped socialising together in January 2015 which led the Petitioner to feel…”

Reducing acrimony

If you are amicable, we recommend sharing these examples with your ex before they receive them via the court so they don’t come as a shock. What is important is to remember and for your ex to realise that this is a means to an end. If you are amicable, it may be wise for your ex to write the examples of their behaviour themselves so any conflict between you can be minimised.

amicable can help you with this process. If you would like any more information, please get in touch.


Help me write my statement

If you have any questions, or would like some support on divorce or how to divorce online, please book a free 15-minute call with one of our experts here.

Find the right service for you

About the author

Hannah Hodgkinson is Head of Marketing at amicable. Hannah has over six years experience working for global NGOs and private consultancies and has a passion for marketing for companies with a social purpose


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I got married in 2015, my husband was verbally abusive, he moved out October 2016 and return back in December 2016 to say that he will change. He moved back but this did not change, after 4 months he started his abusive behaviour again. Now what he is doing is not talking to me, we do not sleep on the same bed, we both do our own things. This month he did not even contributed financially. I spoke to him and requested he moved out the house, which is in my name and I bought it before we got married. He has insisting that he is not moving out, unless we both go and get divorce. He has the marriage certificate and will not give it to me. I am fed up with leaving like strangers. I want to apply for divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour. I came across your details during web search. I would appreciate your help in drafting my divorce form.
Controlling. Lack of emotional support. Personal sexual issues.
very helpful thank you
I got Married in June 2016 after 18 months found out husband was having emotional affair, he said he fell out of love with me years before we married but never communicated this to me. At the same time I was going through a tough time just found out had a BRCA 2 gene and elected for removal of overies and fallopian tubes and had no emotional support. We have a son together and always wanted to run my own business from home but would never support me. I moved out in May 2018 and filed for Divorce in january 2018 just recieved letter back saying judge as not accepted grounds of unreasonable behaviour. need help to resubmit petition
Sorry to hear you’re going through a difficult time, please schedule a call here and one of our Divorce Coaches will talk you through the options: https://calendly.com/amicable/call/
I not want to get divorce but what can I do because he send me a papers If I see there are the untruth reason please can you contact me to know how to move of from the divorce and save a divorce.
Hi Alkina, call us on 0203 004 4695 and we’ll talk through your options.

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