What constitutes "unreasonable behaviour" in divorce?

(61 Posts)
DoingItForMyself Thu 05-Jul-12 14:44:25

Does it have to be documented, big things or can you cite insults and incidents of selfishness etc? I don't want to have to wait 2 years to get it done, but with a background of low-level EA I don't have anything specific to hang it on.

Would it be easier for one of us to confess to a non-existent affair? Would an emotional affair suffice as I could probably muster one of those if I tried hard enough!

DoingItForMyself Sun 08-Jul-12 17:36:58

Do I need to apply for the financial orders MsI? If I do it like you have, keeping the 3 parts separate? MW do you know which of these are relevant in my situation?

We don't have many assets to argue over (only the house which was bought with my inheritance, so may cause some arguments there) and main money has been his income which has supported us, along with my measly p/t wages.

Children we will be able to resolve ourselves (as long as he doesn't play silly buggers about maintenance!)

MsIndependence Sun 08-Jul-12 20:46:12

Hi DIFM,
Please don't hold me to any of this as a lot was said in my solicitors meeting but from what I understand there are 2 ways of dealing with the financial stuff.
1. If you both agree on maintenance, child support and the splitting of all assets you can set it down on paper and have it as a voluntary agreement. You or your solicitor can then apply to make it legally binding by applying for (I think) an order of consent which basically means the courts rubber stamp it. This will be needed if you try to get a mortage based on maintenance which only a couple of lenders do (search 'maintenance mortgage' in moneysavingexpert.com) and also if there is any chance you H won't stick to the agreement.

2. In my case although H is being almost reasonable about maintenance he does not agree about the assets so my solicitor is going to write asking him to declare everything then we will have to begin negotiations. Again this can be kept between ourselves unless no agreement is reached then it will go to the courts to decide. My strategy is to ask for a lot more that I know he will give so that I will have to back down, he will score points and i will hopefully get what I really wanted in the end!

Also you really need to think about the future so get a will done a.s.a.p or your children may miss out if you die suddenly but are still married. I think since you bought the house with your money your really should discuss the finances with a solicitor.

You may have thought of this but its really useful to put everything for the years expenditure down on paper and divide into months. I'm currently in the process of putting together an Excel spreadsheet on this so let me know if this is something you would be interested in and I will send you a copy when I'm finished.

Also you can apply for 25% council tax discount if you are the only adult in the house, plus childcare tax credits, income support, legal aid etc
Legal Aid calculator-http://legalaidcalculator.justice.gov.uk/calculators/eligiCalc?execution=e1s1

Child tax credits http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/start/claiming/claim-children/childcare-costs.htm

Hope this all helps! xx

DoingItForMyself Mon 09-Jul-12 09:14:37

Thanks for that, I'd be really interested to see your spreadsheet if you don't mind - I'm not very organised with that sort of thing, but I know I'll have to start!

We did sit down (when I was still able to talk to him without wanting to punch him in the face) and try to work out how much I would need to keep the children and myself living here, which he said he wanted to try and facilitate if possible, so he is also being very reasonable on that score, but that's why I feel like I can't rock the boat in case he whips that away from me or uses it to argue over the final amounts on divorce ("I paid you double what the CSA advised so you need to be fair about the house" etc).

Have applied for 25% off council tax and may not have to pay anything as I will be on a low income with tax credits topping me up once that is all sorted. Legal aid would be handy, does that mean I need to find a specific solicitor or do most of them do that? What do you need to qualify? Sorry for all the questions! I realise each case is different I just don't know where to start with all this.

Midwife99 Mon 09-Jul-12 09:20:20

Brill advice MsInde. Def get legal advice before you try to do anything alone Doing. my solicitor said mediation is all well & good if you have a strong mediator & there isn't much disparity between the parties' assets & incomes but if there is its not really worthwhile as many mediators cave in easily & don't fight for the "poorer" party. Money saving expert does a great budget spreadsheet too.

Collaborate Mon 09-Jul-12 11:11:25

Mediators are not there to fight for either party. They are there to facilitate a discussion between the parties. They can give information about procedure, but cannot tell one or other of the parties that they are being unrealistic. Both parties should get their own legal advice if they want to keep their proposals trealistic, and be able to evaluate the other side's proposals.

There is no point in not getting an agreement turned in to a consent order made in the divorce. An agreement to have a clean break is not binding until the court orders it - in fact neither is anything else.

Midwife99 Mon 09-Jul-12 11:23:30

Collaborate knows best!! As always!

MsIndependence Mon 09-Jul-12 11:49:36

Thanks Midwife that budget planner on MSE is brilliant-DIFM forget my now abandoned spreadsheet and use that instead. Re legal aid you can check if you are eligible via the link in my previous post. A lot but not all of solicitors will offer legal aid i.e they do the same work but legal aid pays if you are entitled to it. I found 3 solicitors in my area via yell.com then interviewed 2 who offered a free consultation and chose the one I felt most comforable with. Price wise here they charge from £130 upwards per hour and some will do monthly billing. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by going for a free consultation!

DoingItForMyself Mon 09-Jul-12 12:39:06

They don't give you much room on the form for your Statement of case, do they? I'm trying to be concise but its tricky to fit in 5 or 6 things with examples.

Trouble is most of the worst things happened last year, as I've kind of switched off from him a bit this year. Does it matter if I don't give dates for all of them?

Midwife99 Mon 09-Jul-12 14:27:18

My divorces blush never included dates of the events of unreasonable behaviour

Collaborate Mon 09-Jul-12 16:13:37

They deliberately don't give you much room as they want you to be brief. Too much detail is like picking over scabs, and does not help harmonious relations.

Midwife99 Mon 09-Jul-12 16:19:37

Yeah brief summary of it all I reckon

DoingItForMyself Mon 09-Jul-12 16:44:50

How does this sound?

The respondent was unwilling and unable to participate fully in family life, stating in June 2012 that being asked to join in with family activities made him "feel angry". This made the petitioner feel that she was alone in parenting much of the time, with no prospect of improvement. The respondent showed a lack of empathy and emotion in general, but especially towards the end of the marriage, not apologising for saying hurtful and insulting things about the petitioner's weight, food choices and appearance. This made the petitioner feel unattractive and lacking in confidence. The respondent was financially inconsistent, checking the petitioner's shopping receipts to see what she had spent money on, making the petitioner feel guilty about spending money on herself and the children, while he bought items for himself and made bids on ebay for unnecessary expensive items without any discussion. This made the petitioner feel unequal in the partnership due to not being in a position to earn an equal salary. The respondent suggested living apart as a way to reduce arguments in the relationship. This made the petitioner feel that the respondent no longer wished to be part of the family unit.

Midwife99 Mon 09-Jul-12 17:09:45

Collaborate?

MsIndependence Mon 09-Jul-12 18:51:49

Hi-if you do it online you can fit a lot in-see my case statement in previous post. My only suggestion would to be to use I rather 'petitioner' in order elicit more empathy from the reader and would be a smoother read but I'm not a legal personsmile

DoingItForMyself Mon 09-Jul-12 18:56:49

using I would definitely make it shorter, I just thought that was how it had to be worded as if a solicitor had written it instead of me, but I'll change it to I and to twat instead of respondent

DoingItForMyself Mon 09-Jul-12 19:47:07

Revised edition:

The respondent was unwilling and unable to participate fully in family life, stating in June 2012 that being asked to join in with family activities made him "feel angry" and that even if he had a choice to work fewer weekends he wouldn't want it. This made me feel alone in parenting much of the time, with no prospect of improvement. The respondent showed a lack of empathy and emotion in general, but especially towards the end of the marriage, not apologising for saying hurtful and insulting things about my weight, food choices and appearance. This made me feel unattractive and lacking in confidence. The respondent was financially inconsistent, checking my shopping receipts to see what I had spent money on, making me feel guilty about spending money on myself and the children, while he bought items for himself and made bids on ebay for unnecessary expensive items without any discussion with me. This made me feel unequal in the partnership due to not being in a position to earn an equal salary. The respondent suggested living apart as a way to reduce arguments in the relationship while remaining married. This made me feel that the respondent no longer wished to be part of a true family unit.

Midwife99 Mon 09-Jul-12 20:27:54

My opinion only but - delete "unable" to participate in family life. He was not unable only unwilling. Also delete "did not apologise" for saying nasty things. Just leave it that he said nasty things about your weight etc. I'll read on .....

Collaborate Mon 09-Jul-12 21:37:41

You could trim it down further: I suggest -

The respondent was unwilling to participate fully in family life.

He showed a lack of empathy and emotion in general, saying hurtful and insulting things about the petitioner's weight, food choices and appearance.

The respondent would check the petitioner's shopping receipts to see what she had spent money on, making the petitioner feel guilty about spending money on herself and the children, while did not consult with her over his own purchases.

The respondent suggested living apart as a way to reduce arguments in the relationship. This made the petitioner feel that the respondent no longer wished to be part of the family unit.

Midwife99 Mon 09-Jul-12 21:45:31

Brilliant collaborate (of course!)

DoingItForMyself Mon 09-Jul-12 23:17:01

Marvellous, thanks! I always was a bit too wordy. If you think that is sufficient I'll take your expert opinion and get it done.

butterflybee Tue 10-Jul-12 05:45:57

Did I read earlier that he'd already moved out and is happy with the new dynamic? I think that's a pretty clear message on its own.

DoingItForMyself Tue 10-Jul-12 09:12:40

Yes he seems very happy now Butterfly, which is what he wanted all along, to live alone, see the DCs a few times a week, but with me there in the background still being on hand if he wanted a nice family meal occasionally or some sex .

All I can do is make it clear that I am not part of the deal anymore, so yes he can have the rest, but not as part of a marriage! I need more than that to be happy.

Midwife99 Tue 10-Jul-12 11:22:49

Yes good for you Doing It!!

Midwife99 Tue 10-Jul-12 11:34:05

PS My stbx is the same. All happy & cheerful. He can see DDs when he wants & in between do his own thing without being required to give anyone anything of himself except his cock to his cousin of course

MsIndependence Tue 10-Jul-12 13:37:01

Go for it DIFM- I have printed off all 3 copies of my petition and state of arrnagements for children-now just need £340 to pay to pay to lodge it with the court!!!

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