The court considered the standard of behaviour which would support an allegation that a petitioner spouse should not reasonably be expected to live with the other spouse.
Held: Tthe court will have regard to the particular petitioner and the particular respondent in assessing what is reasonable.
Bagnall J said: ‘In order, therefore, to answer the question whether the petitioner can or cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent, in my judgment I have to consider not only the behaviour the respondent has alleged and established in evidence, but the character, personality, disposition and behaviour of the petitioner. The general question may be expanded thus: can this petitioner, with his or her character and personality, with his or her faults and other attributes, good and bad, having regard to his or her behaviour during the marriage, reasonably be expected to live with this respondent? It follows that if a respondent is seeking to resist a petition on the first ground upon which Mr. Ash relies, he must in his answer plead and his evidence establish the characteristics, faults, attributes, personality and behaviour on the part of the petitioner upon which he relies.’
‘It seems to me that a violent petitioner can reasonably be expected to live with a violent respondent. A petitioner who is addicted to drink can reasonably be expected to live with a respondent who is similarly addicted . .’ and ‘If each is equally bad, at any rate in similar respects, each can reasonably be expected to live with the other.’
 Fam 135
Divorce Reform Act 1969 1(2)(b)
England and Wales
Cited – Birch v Birch CA 22-Oct-1991
W appealed against dismissal of her petition for divorce to the effect that her husband had behaved in such a way that she could not reasonably have been expected to live with him. The judge had found H difficult but that his behaviour was not to . .
Cited – Owens v Owens CA 24-Mar-2017
Unreasonable Behaviour must reach criteria
W appealed against the judge’s refusal to grant a decree of divorce. He found that the marriage had broken down irretrievably, but did not find that H had behaved iin such a way that she could not reasonably be expected to live with H.
Held: . .
Unsustainable – Owens v Owens SC 25-Jul-2018
W petitioned for divorce alleging that he ‘has behaved in such a way that [she] cannot reasonably be expected to live with [him]’. H defended, and the petition was rejected as inadequate in the behaviour alleged. She said that the section should be . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 August 2021; Ref: scu.549109