In every divorce, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage must be proven to the Court. In addition, one of the following factors must be shown:-
- Behaviour in such a way that it is unreasonable to stay together
- Separation with Consent after 2 years
- Separation without Consent after 5 years
- Desertion after 2 years.
With the “No Fault Divorce” Bill not coming into force until later on this year, many people have chosen to start a Divorce Petition on the basis of their ex-partner’s unreasonable behaviour.
As a consequence, those receiving a Divorce Petition may wrongly believe that by accepting blame for the breakdown of the relationship, they will, in some way, be penalised by the Court in the financial award when considering the matrimonial finances. This is a myth.
The Court rarely considers conduct in matrimonial finance cases. The Court’s primary consideration is that of the parties’ financial needs and the needs of any dependent children. Consequently, no consideration will be given as to conduct unless the conduct is exceptional and so serious that it would be wrong for the Court to ignore it. Only an extremely limited number of cases fall into this category.
With this in mind, should you receive a Petition, do not be afraid to include that you do not intend to defend the proceedings, as it is extremely unlikely that any conduct will be considered by the Court.
The Court will always, where possible, want to ensure that the parties have sufficient monies to rehouse themselves and any dependent children, enough income to support themselves and any dependent children and to ensure that neither party is in a worse financial position than they were at the start of the marriage.
If in doubt, it is always best to get advice from a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.