I want a divorce but do not want to say anything bad about my spouse?
Many couples agree to separate merely because they have drifted apart and they are more like best friends rather than husband and wife. They may not see the point in delaying the inevitable and want to get on with their own lives and do not wish to wait until they have been separated for over 2 years. However, until the no fault divorce is introduced, which has been needed for a long time, but still has no date for its introduction, then a petitioner will need to rely on behaviour.
Most people believe that the behaviour has to be serious, and indeed in many cases we will have behaviour such as domestic violence and abuse, drug/alcohol addictions, refusal to participate in married or family life. Sometimes the behaviour is brought about through something which may be beyond the respondent’s total control, such as mental health issues. In these cases it is frequently the failure of the respondent to seek appropriate help or to continue with medication and/or therapy which brings about the demise of the marriage. It can be difficult to help someone who will not help themselves.
Behaviour is referred to as “unreasonable behaviour” even by the Court, however the definition states that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent because of their behaviour. Therefore behaviour can cover almost everything and it does not need to be a set of allegations or accusations. It is what that particular petitioner can put up with from the person they are married to. What is a “deal breaker” for some may not be such for others. Many potential petitioners are relieved to hear this particularly if the parties have simply drifted apart. An experienced family lawyer can find sufficient behaviours to enable a petition to proceed even in the most amicable of separations.
For example, if the parties have drifted then they are usually socialising separately by choice, perhaps they want different things out of life eg one may want to travel, the other not, one may become irritated with what they see to be the other’s lack of ambition or drive. A lot of the time a petition can focus on how the respondent’s behaviour made the petitioner feel rather than saying the behaviour itself was wrong. It does not need to turn into a mud-slinging exercise.
If the parties are still communicating effectively then they may even be able to agree what behaviours to use.