When a marriage reaches the point of divorce there can be many reasons why the relationship has broken down.
In divorce proceedings, there is only one ground for divorce and that is that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down.’
When issuing a divorce petition to prove that the marriage has broken down there are five facts that you can rely upon:
1. That your husband or wife has committed adultery.
2. That your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them (unreasonable behaviour).
3. That you have lived apart for more than two years with consent
4. That you have lived apart for more than five years.
In a situation where facts three, four or five are not relevant, and where adultery has not been committed, an individual must rely on the spouse’s unreasonable behaviour.
When filing for divorce on the ground of unreasonable behaviour there must be several strong examples of such behaviour to support the application.
In the recent case of Owens v Owens (2017), a wife’s petition on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour was unsuccessful as the court deemed the wife’s allegations were ‘at best flimsy and minor altercations of a kind were expected in a marriage.’ The court concluded that the wife had failed to demonstrate that her husband had behaved in such a way that she cannot reasonably be expected to live with him.
The Owens vs Owens case demonstrates that it is necessary to create a compelling case if the unreasonable behaviour fact is being relied upon. Instructing a solicitor will help to ensure that your divorce petition is well-drafted and that you are guided through the process every step of the way.
Going through a divorce is a difficult and emotional time which is why it is essential that you have the support of an experienced family solicitor.