Divorce Settlement: Does behaviour have any bearing on a financial divorce settlement?

Does behaviour have any bearing on a financial divorce settlement? 

I often hear “I want to take my spouse to the cleaners for what he/she has done to me” and “my spouse never paid me any attention, why should he/she get a penny?

A spouse, be it a man or a woman, with emotions running high, often wants to exact some sort of financial revenge on their spouse for the pain they are suffering when it comes to their divorce settlement. The majority of these situations involve adultery, lack of attention, arguments, alcohol or financial irresponsibility – often in the form of gambling. As a result of a spouse’s unacceptable behaviour during the marriage this can lead to their spouse feeling anger, greed, pride, lust, envy and gluttony which in turn can form the ugly undertow in any financial negotiations involved in a divorce settlement.


Parties can often become tangled up in fighting over principles as to who was to blame for the marriage and why they should be financially penalised as a result, as it can often seem like the right and honourable thing to do at the time.  It is, after all, what almost every movie hero does; and somehow the hero usually comes out on top. The problem, of course, is that real life is not like the movies. Whilst I entirely sympathise with the injured party, as a general rule, the Courts do not take bad behaviour into account unless the behaviour is extreme. 

Defending or cross petitioning on divorce would almost invariably incur substantial legal costs and in all probability the attempt would fail, unless the circumstance were wholly exceptional. Often clients fail to appreciate that the petition (irrespective of its content) merely represents the vehicle for divorce and although clients may entirely object to the allegations of unreasonable behaviour stated therein, such allegations  will have no bearing on their financial divorce settlement.

Plan ahead with strategic divorce lawyers:

If you agree that your marriage should be brought to an end by way of a divorce, your focus and money would be better spent in achieving a swift and amicable settlement on the financial side of your marriage with the help of strategic divorce lawyers. If you are able to swallow the sour taste of your spouse’s petition to enable it to proceed, your time and effort will be better spent in achieving the most desirable outcome for you concerning your matrimonial assets.

Whilst I appreciate this can be a struggle for many to digest, you should remember that the petition is not a public document and so it should not be seen by anyone other than you, your spouse, the legal representatives and the Court.  In other words, the content of your spouse’s outrageous petition should not be brought up as a topic of conversation at your local post office or on the golf course.

Here at Pinder Reaux, we have a team of strategic divorce lawyers who can help you achieve a swift and amicable settlement in your divorce. Don’t put yourself through long and stressful court proceedings where it can otherwise be avoided. With a strategy agreed at the outset, you will be best placed to achieve your objectives with limited costs and time incurred.

Read more about divorce strategies here: http://www.pinderreaux.com/family-law/divorce-strategies


Rebecca Antoniou

Associate Solicitor

Pinder Reaux & Associates Ltd