Unreasonable behaviour remains the most common ground for divorce. To establish this ground, the party seeking the divorce must satisfy the court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down because his/her spouse has acted in such an unreasonable manner that he/she finds It ‘intolerable’ to live with.
What exactly is unreasonable behaviour?
A wide spectrum of behavior has been regarded by the courts as ‘unreasonable behaviour’:
- A spouse’s violent conduct
- Abusive and threating behavior towards the petitioner
- Bad habits and vices (i.e. gambling and drinking habits)
- The spouse’s financial Irresponsibility and failure to care financially for the family
- Extramarital affairs and relationships with unknown men/women
- The spouse’s failure to maintain any sexual or physical relations
The court must be satisfied that the spouse has not only refused to try to work on the issues in the marriage but continues to engage in this unreasonable conduct.
Ending an amicable relationship under “unreasonable” behaviour?
Often couples seeking a divorce are left in a dilemma of whether to initiate divorce proceedings on the grounds of “unreasonable behavior” especially where the parties are amicable holding no animosity towards each other. This is prominent in cases where the couples have simply drifted apart with time and are seeking a divorce to move ahead in their lives. In such cases, raising the grounds for “unreasonable behavior” may be extremely precarious and open a can of worms of sensitive and intimate information/details on the couple’s relationship, exposing their vulnerabilities and causing it to their relationship to sour beyond repair.
When to get legal advice?
Any failure to identify a suitable ground for divorce will cause parties to suffer unnecessary trauma, heartache and fatigue. It remains imperative that couples making an application for divorce and choose the right grounds for divorce. Individuals seeking a divorce, should always seek professional legal advise to prevent it escalating into a messy situation and shield the parties from any unnecessary stress that comes with bringing the proceedings before the family courts.