No-fault divorce in England and Wales means anyone seeking a divorce has to establish one thing: that the marriage or civil partnership has broken down irretrievably. Contrary to fault-based systems there is no requirement for a person seeking a divorce to blame his or her spouse or civil partner for the breakdown in the marriage. As a result, allegations of unreasonable behaviour have no place in the procedural aspect of securing a divorce in England and Wales.
In reality however, behaviour that a spouse or civil partner finds unreasonable or unacceptable will very often be the catalyst for divorce.
Before the Divorce and Dissolution Act (no-fault divorce) came into force in 2022, unreasonable behaviour was the most common ground for divorce. That doesn’t mean that England is full of unreasonable people. Allegations of unreasonable behaviour under the fault-based system of divorce that existed before 2022 meant simply that in all the circumstances of the marriage, it was not reasonable for the person seeking a divorce to stay living with his or her spouse or partner.
What constituted unreasonable behaviour was an entirely subjective matter. Some spouses or civil partners might feel aggrieved if their partner goes for a drink with his work mates before coming home every night of the working week; others might regard it as perfectly normal and acceptable.
If you are thinking about beginning divorce proceedings you can get in touch with us for an initial, no-obligation discussion. No-fault divorce means that, if your spouse or civil partner is behaving in a way that you find intolerable you can apply for a divorce without having to formally describe the behaviour in your divorce application. This could make it more straightforward for you to reach agreement on divorce-related matters like finances and child arrangements.
Or call us: +44 (0)20 7430 8470