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What constitutes "unreasonable behaviour" in divorce?

(81 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!

countydurhamlass Thu 05-Jul-12 18:09:27

unreasonable behaviour can include things like not socialising together cos he he doesnt want to go out, insults can be but you may have to give specific dates of one or two (even if its just a month), refusing to do things or going out all the time. if you give lots of little incidents then that will be enough, not getting a job and relying on you to pay everything, running up debts and not telling you, or not giving you any help to pay bills etc,

Soila Thu 05-Jul-12 20:34:11

My divorce was a long time ago (late 90s) so things might have changed since but I remember my solicitor telling me that unreasonable behaviour would be what I, personally, deemed as it to be.

He gave me an example of squeezing the toothpaste from the wrong end just as an illustration of how anything could count.

Sorry if I'm getting personal or going off track, Doingitformyself, but are you sure you want a divorce?

DoingItForMyself Thu 05-Jul-12 21:15:31

Yes Soila, he has moved out as he wasn't happy living as part of a family (all too overwhelming despite the fact he was hardly ever here at weekends and never spent any time with the DCs.) He was cold and distant with me, had no empathy whatsoever and was incapable of being what I need in a partner (loving kind and warm).

He said cruel things, never apologised and was generally totally indifferent the rest of the time, unless he wanted sex, when he would be affectionate for about 10 mins. I really don't miss him at all and the DCs have totally adjusted already.

Now he is spending 2 or 3 evenings a week with them, is presumably happy in his own space and I have my own space, no-one judging me for my choices, belittling me or making me feel inferior.

I would never get back with him, so why not divorce. I didn't see the rush when we first split up, but now he's gone, its more a case of why not?

minceorotherwise Thu 05-Jul-12 21:22:36

Ooh I think you just made yourself a list of unreasonable behaviour !!! Unexpected result!!

HelpfulSolicitor Thu 05-Jul-12 21:57:31

Hi there. I can tell you that a few examples, such as those outlined above, you will be able to use in order to put forward an unreasonable behaviour divorce petition as that will most likely be sufficient for a Judge to allow a petition to proceed on those terms. The way that family law is progressing is towards the milder end of behaviour to make divorces less acrimonious especially when there are children involved.

Collaborate Thu 05-Jul-12 22:09:14

Agree with HS. OP what you posted above will do. In my local county court the judges have been told never to refuse a UB petition unless the petitioner is clearly having a laugh. The idea is not to stoke up bitterness and resentment, that then impact upon the kids and makes a financial settlement that much harder.

DoingItForMyself Thu 05-Jul-12 22:12:19

That makes sense. I suppose where both parties want to divorce there's no real reason not to is there. Thanks very much for the advice.

minceorotherwise Thu 05-Jul-12 22:24:40

Just as an aside, out of interest, what constitutes irretrievable breakdown then.? Is it always one or the other?

Collaborate Fri 06-Jul-12 00:22:06

Irretrievable breakdown is, to be pedantic, the only ground for divorce. It can only be proved by proving one of 5 facts, Adultery, UB, desertion, 2 years separation with consent, and 5 years separation without consent.

DoingItForMyself Fri 06-Jul-12 23:46:52

Should I be feeling pissed off that he's just agreed to a divorce? I know its what I need to happen for my own well-being and sent him a message this afternoon saying that we should both have a think about what we think would be fair and then contact a mediator to try and resolve it without costing too much.

He replied, "Agree with what you say on divorce and am happy to use a mediator " and my stomach just lurched. I KNOW this is what I need, while I am still married to him I feel that I have to keep trying not to rock the boat so that he doesn't suddenly become unreasonable about money. I know that if I strike while the iron is still hot I will probably get a better sympathy deal out of him.

But why do I feel sick that he is so calm about it. I honestly thought he might say lets leave it until the dust has settled or something, I suppose I wanted to feel in control of the situation and he has pulled the rug from under me yet again. sad

YankNCock Sat 07-Jul-12 09:32:53

You feel sick because your marriage is really going to be over. That's hard even when you know it's the right thing! And despite his bad behaviour showing you how much he didn't want a marriage or family life, you were probably still hoping a bit that being separated would jolt him into realising what a dick he's been. He may still come to that realisation, or perhaps he never will. Don't let that wind you up, you still control what you do and how you choose to feel about it. Better he's agreeable to it than jerking you around with promises to change, moving in and out, etc.

Have emailed you again.

DoingItForMyself Sat 07-Jul-12 09:47:25

I think that's spot on. I was hoping for a 'jolt' or a lightbulb moment from him about what a balls-up he's made of the whole thing, but I still need to work on detaching from him and concentrating on me.

I'm never going to have him begging me to change my mind (not that I would, but it would be soooo nice to have that power for once). The divorce will allow me to move on with some financial security rather than living in fear that anything I do to upset him will be used against me.

I suppose if he'd refused the divorce or argued about it, or suggested that he was divorcing me for unreasonable behaviour I'd have reason to be pissed off.

I just couldn't understand why I was so upset at his simple, emotionless reply, but he's always been emotionless and cold! What did I think had changed in the last month!?!?

Thanks for the PM Yank.

MOSagain Sat 07-Jul-12 12:31:50

oh sweetie, you are upset because you loved him. I can totally understand that you'd maybe secretly hoped that it would be a shock to him and not just a yes. I'd be upset and am in a similar position to you. (((hugs)))

DoingItForMyself Sat 07-Jul-12 16:12:40

I suppose it hurts because its probably the first real decision I've made. He never really let me decide on anything (takeaways, meals out, holiday - just the one!) whatever I suggested he would always have the final say, unless something went wrong in which case it was all my idea of course.

Maybe I hoped that in this case, now that I have shown my independence, that I could make a decision without him getting the final say - that it might be something he didn't want for a change, but it turns out he does.

He can see that being divorced from me will be a good thing for him and that hurts because the break-up was unquestionably 95% his fault (the 5% being I could have accepted his very limited involvement in mine & the DCs lives instead of getting angry and upset about it.)

catsrus Sat 07-Jul-12 22:00:36

I think you need to try to detach as much as possible and not get too much into the issue of whose fault it is, you have to manage the co-parenting of your dcs. The opposite of love is not hate it's indifference, you need to reach a point where what he says or does has little emotional impact on you and you really don't care. You've already discovered that life without him is better for you, life without caring what he thinks will be even better grin

DoingItForMyself Sat 07-Jul-12 22:52:39

Thanks Cats, I know you're right! I'm trying and thought I was doing ok, but this threw me.

Your name came up today as I was discussing with the DCs about getting a cat (now that H has left and can't stop us!). He asked if there was a shop called CatsRUs and I said no, but there's a mumsnetter!

catsrus Sun 08-Jul-12 00:35:08

lol! it was a name change from my original one, just for a few posts, but I ended up not changing back smile When my H left the dcs convinced me that the only thing that would heal their broken hearts were 2 kittens hmm. TBH I think it worked wink.

As for detaching, I'm not saying I don't have moments when I'd like a couple of voodoo dolls of him and OW, but I know with every fibre of my being that I'm better of not married to him so I just concentrate on that grin

joanofarchitrave Sun 08-Jul-12 00:41:35

Divorce is a really distressing procedure in any circumstances - after all, who in their right minds would go through a traumatic breakup AND a lawsuit at the same time?? You'd be inhuman if you didn't feel anything - it's a tribute to the fact that you really did love him once upon a time, and that's a good thing to be able to tell your children one day.

One warning - when the list of behaviour that you come up with land on the other person's doormat, that can be a very nasty moment. It's entirely up to you, but you could decide to do what my xh did for me (he was divorcing me because of my unreasonable behaviour) - he rang me the day before the papers would reach me, and explained that he had drawn up the list with the help of his solicitor in order to achieve our common goal, i.e. the least traumatic divorce possible, and it did not represent his only view of what happened or the full story of our relationship. He then rang me again the day after to find out if I was OK. On the other hand, if that list represents the full truth and you want your XH to read the full story in black and white, you could just go with that.

Midwife99 Sun 08-Jul-12 04:54:26

Yes the realisation that EVEN HE doesn't want us is pretty disturbing. The truth is they have also had enough of the miserable relationship but I know what you mean about the fantasy that he will say "No - I've been a total twunt - you are so important to me & I love you so much that I'm going to completely change & be a wonderful DH & DF & we'll live happily ever after!"

DoingItForMyself Sun 08-Jul-12 09:49:57

grin wouldn't that be the perfect moment MW.

And with the help of the lovely MNers we would be able to stand firm and say, "Aw that's nice to hear after all these years. If only you'd managed to realise it sooner that little scenario may well have happened, but I've moved on, I'm loving my new single life and the spare time I get when you have the DCs (and my new kitten wink ) so thanks and all that, but I think I'll decline"

Thanks for those wise words Joan. I've been thinking all night about what I can use, constrained by the 6 month rule, a lot of the worse ones have passed anyway, so I think I'll keep it to general patterns of behaviour with a small example (financially controlling - checking my tesco receipts to see what I've spent while buying himself electronic gadgets etc) as these are things we've already talked about and won't come as a big shock.

MsIndependence Sun 08-Jul-12 16:14:56

Hi, this is my first ever post so I hope it helps someone. My husband left 2 months ago by mutual agreement as our marriage was toxic and I did not want our nearly 3 years old son to grow up thinking that what we had was a normal marriage and in doing so affect his future relationships. After having a free initial session with a solicitor (most will do this) and doing lots of research oline, I have decided to do the Divorce part myself online, The custody arrangement part amicably with my husband -nothing has to be put into writing if you are both happy with the current situation (for us I have DS in the week and H has him at weekends but I want this to change once he goes to school so am keeping it flexible), and lastly I'm using the solicitor to help me with the finacial arrangements. So Divorce, Finance And custody of children are 3 different parts.

I'm doing the divorce using the government website where you can fill in forms online and print off and there are clear accompanying notes. I'm citing unreasonable behaviour and have put my reason as:

-Withdrawal of love and affection which upsets me greatly
-Refusal to have sexual relations with me which deeply hurts me-(no sex since 2011 and on averge only 3 times a year during entire marriage)
-Refusal to sleep in the marital bed which upsets me
-Financial sercrecy, lies and deceit which disrespects and hurts me
-The respondent has moved out of the marital home as the marriage had irritrievably broken down.
-All love and affection has disappeared
-It is better for our son to see two happy divorced parents than witness the tense, bitter battleground that our marriage had become even after Relate marriage counselling.

I haven't pushed the final button on this yet and would welcome any opinions as to whether my reasons are stated reasonably or in a too inflammatory way.
Thank you
P.S Link to Gov website

Midwife99 Sun 08-Jul-12 16:19:30

That sounds fine to me! Check for typos though. It doesn't sound inflammatory!

MsIndependence Sun 08-Jul-12 16:24:40

Thanks very much Midwife99..and typos amended!

DoingItForMyself Sun 08-Jul-12 16:59:58

MsIndependence thanks for the link. I've been thinking about what I will put and may post my reasons later for your perusal ladies grin

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