Unreasonable behaviour
Unreasonable behaviour

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Conduct
  • Effect on the petitioner
  • Living together after the final incident relied on
  • Divorce law reform

The Family Procedure Rules 2010, SI 2010/2955 (FPR 2010) have introduced a change in the terminology in divorce proceedings. There are, however, some inconsistencies between the terminology used in the rules, which use the new terms, and those referred to in the forms which refer to old terms. Divorce proceedings are referred to as matrimonial proceedings.

Proceedings for divorce (or a matrimonial order) must be commenced by an application for a matrimonial order which is still referred to in the forms as a petition. The petitioner is also referred to as the applicant.

There is one ground for a divorce, and that is the marriage has broken down irretrievably. However, the court cannot make a finding of irretrievable breakdown unless it is satisfied that one or more of the five facts set out in section 1(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) has been proved.

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage may be proved if the petitioner can satisfy the court that the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.

The test that has been applied by the Court of Appeal is whether a right-thinking person would conclude that the petitioner could not reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.

In determining whether the petitioner can reasonably be expected to live with