Q: My husband and I have separated owing to his unpleasant, aggressive behaviour towards me. We constantly row and now I have finally told him I want to bring the marriage to an end on the basis of his unreasonable behaviour. He is really angry and says this is not what he wants. He is threatening that if I try to divorce him he will defend any proceedings and make sure the whole process is as expensive and unpleasant for me as he can. I just don’t know what to do. Can you advise me?
A: Sadly, an amicable approach to divorce and separation is not always possible. Clearly you feel your marriage has irretrievably broken down, and what you describe definitely sounds like adequate grounds for divorce on the basis of unreasonable behaviour. Great care will however need to be taken when drafting the instances of your husband’s behaviour.
Once you have applied for the divorce your husband may if he wishes to, defend the divorce if he does not accept the marriage has irretrievably broken down or does not accept the grounds relied on for the divorce. Defended divorces are however uncommon. Your husband would need to prepare an answer to the divorce application and then plead his case in court. There would be costs implications for him and possible cost penalties if he is unsuccessful in defending the divorce. The court could also order him to pay some or all of your costs in obtaining the divorce, should he fail in his defence.