Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

British court forces woman to remain married until 2020

British court forces woman to remain married until 2020

A family law judge refused the divorce, saying Tini Owens's allegations were "of the kind to be expected in marriage".

A bench of five justices rejected Mrs Owens's petition for divorce from her husband of 40 years "with reluctance", in a ruling that may pressure Parliament to overhaul divorce laws that are over 50 years old. Hugh, however, refuses to agree to a divorce and denies her allegations about his behaviour.

English divorce laws say a person cannot divorce without a spouse's consent, unless they can prove adultery, unreasonable behavior or desertion.

In May of that year, Tini petitioned for divorce, alleging that her husband had prioritised his work over their home life, his treatment of her lacked love and affection, he was often moody and argumentative, he had disparaged her in front of others, and that she had grown apart from him.

"Naturally, Mrs Owens is devastated by this decision, which means that she can not move forward with her life and obtain her independence from Mr Owens".

"Those who have never experienced such humiliation may find it hard to understand how destructive such conduct can be of trust and confidence which should exist in any marriage". The law allows her to divorce in 2020 when they have been separated for five years.

The couple married in 1978 and have two children. Tini Owens moved out and petitioned for a divorce in 2015. He accused her of having had an affair and being "bored".

She alleged the marriage had broken down irretrievably and Mr Owens had behaved in such a way that she could not reasonably be expected to live with him.

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Her rep told TMZ that her family are by her side and want to "express thanks to everyone for the love, prayers and support ". We've performed with her, toured with her. "To see her back in such a sad and vulnerable place is heart-breaking for him".


In a concurring judgment, his colleague Lady Hale said she found it "a very troubling case", but that it was not for judges to change the law.

Caroline Elliott, a specialist lawyer, said: "England and Wales now lag far behind other countries with their divorce laws and there is a strong mood for reform, which includes the introduction of "no-fault" divorces".

She has already lost two rounds of the battle.

One judge said she had reached her conclusion with "no enthusiasm whatsoever" but that it was for parliament to decide whether to introduce "no fault" divorce on demand.

He added: "It should not be for any husband or wife to "prove" blame as the law requires many to do - this is archaic, creates needless conflict, and has to change".

Another said Parliament had "decreed" that being in a "wretchedly unhappy marriage" was not a ground for divorce.

They say the case is about "proper interpretation" of legislation. In bringing her appeal, she was essentially advocating divorce by unilateral demand of the petitioner; ignoring the court's duty to have some objective regard to the respondent's behaviour'.

Her lawyers said a "modest shift" of focus in interpretation of legislation was required.

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