Nobody’s fault however the legislation: Tini Owens boosts case to legalise no-fault divorce | Life and magnificence


The unusual case of Tini Owens, who can’t escape her loveless marriage, comes earlier than the UK’s highest courtroom on Thursday as strain grows to legalise no-fault divorce.

Owens, 67, who lives in Worcestershire, has utilized to overturn a ruling by the court of appeal that her union together with her husband Hugh, 79, a retired mushroom farmer, has not damaged down irretrievably regardless of her having an affair.

Hugh Owens has opposed his spouse’s request to dissolve their 40-year marriage, denying claims that he made her really feel unloved and often disparaged her to others. He says he doesn’t need to divorce as a result of they nonetheless have a “few years” left to take pleasure in.

Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in England and Wales, anybody in search of a divorce can show their accomplice is at fault by means of adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour. Alternatively, if either side agree, they’ll half after 2 years of separation.

But within the absence of consent or proof of fault, candidates should wait till they’ve been dwelling aside for 5 years. The Owens have solely been dwelling separate lives since 2015.

Five supreme courtroom judges, together with the courtroom president Lady Justice Hale, will contemplate whether or not Tini Owen’s allegations of mistreatment represent adequate grounds for locating that she can’t, because the legislation states, “reasonably be expected to live” together with her husband. She has already did not persuade 2 decrease courts that she deserves her freedom.

Resolution, the organisation which represents attorneys working in household legislation and helps the introduction of no-fault divorce, has been given permission to intervene within the listening to.

Their members will maintain a rally exterior parliament on Thursday morning, calling for a change to the legislation. In a survey of its members, Resolution mentioned that 90% consider the present legislation makes it more durable to cut back battle and confrontation between shoppers and their ex-partners. Bringing in no-fault divorce, mentioned 80% of Resolution’s members, would make it simpler for separated to achieve settlement out of courtroom.

Hugh Owens

Hugh Owens says he and his spouse nonetheless have ‘a few years’ left to take pleasure in. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

In 2016, greater than half of of all divorce petitions had been submitted on the premise of adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Resolution believes the law forces separating couples to make more aggressive allegations against one another so as to safe a divorce.

Senior judges, together with Lady Hale and the president of the excessive courtroom’s household division, Sir James Munby, have voiced help for no-fault divorce.

Nigel Shepherd, a former chair of Resolution, mentioned: “Our current laws can often create unnecessary conflict in divorce, forcing many couples to blame each other when there is no real need – other than a legal requirement – to do so. This conflict is detrimental to the couples themselves, and, crucially, any children they may have.”

Margaret Heathcote, the nationwide chair, added: “There is no evidence that fault acts as a buffer to slow the divorce process, and the petition plays no part in determining other factors, such as financial arrangements or what happens to any children the couple may have. The current system is outdated, unfair, and unnecessary.”

Simon Beccle, Tini Owens’ solicitor and a accomplice on the legislation agency Payne Hicks Beach, mentioned: “This attraction is just not concerning the supreme courtroom altering the legislation, nor certainly is it concerning the idea of no-fault divorce. Rather, it issues the correct interpretation and utility of [the unreasonable behaviour clause] of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973…

“Mrs Owens must fulfill the courtroom that Mr Owens has behaved in such a means that she can’t fairly be anticipated to stay with him.”

Lawyers for Tini Owens will argue that the legislation is being misinterpreted by the courts and that she has already demonstrated the impact of her husband’s behaviour on her.

Beccle mentioned: “If this important case is successful it is likely to mean that there is less need for one party to cite detailed and often unpleasant particulars of how the other has behaved, with the focus being instead on the effect the behaviour has had on the party seeking a divorce, regardless of whether it is objectively bad or otherwise blameworthy.”

Joanne Raisbeck, head of household legislation at Hill Dickinson, mentioned: “This case is the only successfully defended divorce case in recent years and it highlights the urgency for divorce law reform in England. There are already many countries around the world including Australia, Spain and the USA that allow for couples to divorce without blame.”

Ayesha Vardag, who based the household legislation agency Vardags, mentioned: “Fault-based divorce … is a throwback to the morality of the 1950s. It fails to acknowledge the reality of marriages breaking down, and engenders heartache instead of understanding.”

Owen Bowcott from

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