On the 24th March 2017, the Court of Appeal dismissed Mrs Tini Owens appeal against the dismissal of her petition for divorce based on the unreasonable behaviour of her husband, Hugh Owens.
The Court of Appeal acknowledged that this decision left Mrs Owens “trapped in a loveless marriage” but that the Court had to apply the current law as laid down by Parliament and concluded that Mrs Owens had not proven to the Court’s satisfaction that she was entitled to a divorce.
The current law provides that the ground for seeking a divorce is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage based on one of five facts being adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years desertion, two years separation with consent and five years separation.
As the parties had separated in 2015 and Mr Owens did not agree to the Divorce the only option open to Mrs Owens was issue the divorce on the basis of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour or to wait for 5 years.
Mrs Owens has indicated that she intends to seek permission to appeal.
This case is highly unusual in that most divorces proceed uncontested. The case does, however, highlight the antiquated divorce law in this country which is out of step with other Western countries where no fault divorces are the norm.
Resolution, the national body of Family Lawyers and Practitioners, has long campaigned for reform in order to reduce conflict and support separating couples to resolve matters amicably. Indeed, Resolution reports that no fault divorce is widely supported with 69% of the public wanting to remove blame as well as senior members of the Judiciary.
At Rees Page, all of our specialist family lawyers are members of Resolution and we are committed to resolving family disputes in a constructive way in accordance with the Resolution Code of Practice.
Please contact a member of our Family Team if you require any advice or assistance with regards to issues surrounding divorce or separation.