Tini Owens, the wife who lost her appeal against the refusal of the court to grant her a divorce, has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
In March the Court of Appeal decided not to allow Mrs Owens to divorce her husband because his behaviour, as found in the lower courts, was not considered ‘unreasonable’. Mrs Owens’ legal team will argue that the Courts’ emphasis on trying to find that a Respondent’s behaviour is in some way “unreasonable” is wrong. It will be argued that this is a “linguistic trap”, and that the statute does not require unreasonable behaviour, but simply behaviour such that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.
Commenting on today’s decision, Nigel Shepherd, National Chair of Resolution said:
“Resolution supported Mrs Owen’s application to appeal so welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to hear her case which has significant implications for the future of divorce law in England and Wales.
“In today’s modern society, it should not be the case that someone is being forced to stay in a marriage she does not want to be part of, and is now having to go to the highest court.
“Mrs Owens’ case highlights why divorce law in the UK needs to change. We need to reduce conflict and support separating couples to resolve matters amicably, rather than forcing them to play a blame game where one or both of them thinks the marriage is over. The simple fact is that this case should not have been necessary, and only by implementing a no-fault divorce system can we ensure such a situation doesn’t happen again.
“Support for no-fault divorce is growing, from family law professionals, the public and politicians. Whether it’s before or after the case is heard by the Supreme Court, the Government needs to take urgent action to bring our outdated divorce laws up to date and ensure that Mrs Owens’ experience is not repeated.”