Wife appeals court refusal to grant her a divorce

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A woman has appealed to the Court of Appeal after a judge refused to grant her a divorce.

Tini Owens is seeking a divorce on the grounds that her marriage has broken down irretrievably because of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour, but her husband, Hugh Owens, denies this is the case.

Mrs Owens’s barrister, Philip Marshall QC, said: “It is extraordinarily unusual in modern times for a court to dismiss a petition for divorce.” He said the judge had failed to make proper findings of fact on the 27 allegations his client had made about her husband’s treatment of her. Mr Marshall insists that the ruling should be overturned.

Mr Owens’s barrister, Nigel Dyer QC, commented: “At the moment, as the law stands, unhappiness, discontent, disillusionment are not facts which a petitioner can rely upon as facts which prove irretrievable breakdown.”

Mrs Owens, 66, has been married to Mr Owens, who is 78, for 39 years.

Judgment has been reserved.

No plans for ‘no fault’ divorces

When you file a divorce petition it is necessary to show that the relationship has broken down irretrievably for at least one of five statutory reasons.

Recently, it was suggested that the government may introduce so-called ‘no fault’ divorces, meaning the petitioner would not need to prove the marriage had broken down irretrievably. However, on 13 February, a Ministry of Justice spokesman told the House of Lords that there were no such plans.

A YouGov poll published on 17 February showed that 69 per cent of people polled believed ‘people should be able to seek a divorce without having to show their spouse is at fault’.

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