Woman denied divorce takes case to Supreme Court

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Aug 09, 2017
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Tini Owens has so far been told that arguments with her husband, Hugh, do not mean their marriage has broken down irretrievably

Dominic Lipinski/PA

A woman who claims that senior judges have condemned her to a loveless marriage is to take her attempt to divorce her husband of nearly 40 years to the country’s highest court.

Tini Owens, 66, has so far failed to persuade judges the High Court and Court of Appeal to allow her to divorce Hugh Owens, 78, and to overturn an earlier ruling that the couple’s rows were a normal part of family life. Yesterday she was granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in what lawyers have described as a landmark case that has reignited calls for no-fault divorce to be implemented in England and Wales.

In appealing her case at the Supreme Court, Mrs Owens is being supported by Resolution, a national group of family law specialists. “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,” said Nigel Shepherd, the group’s chairman.

He said that the case highlighted a need for divorce law reform. “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,” said Mr Shepherd. “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it’s before or after the case is heard by the Supreme Court, the Government needs to take urgent action to bring our outdated divorce laws up to date and ensure that Mrs Owens’ experience is not repeated.”

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