British divorce laws: are they fair?

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in London

A woman who says her marriage is unhappy has lost a Supreme Court appeal to be granted a divorce.

The Supreme Court today ruled that Tini Owens, 68, could not be divorced from her husband of 40 years. She will therefore need to wait until 2020 to divorce on the basis that they have been separated for five years.

This is where things start to get a bit complicated - if the two people within a marriage haven't been living apart for a significant amount of time, then the only other grounds for divorce rest on things which place the other person in the marriage at fault - adultery, unreasonable behaviour and desertion.

Simon Beccle, Mrs Owens' solicitor, said she had hoped the justices would make a decision which would be "forward-thinking and fit with the current social mores".

One Supreme Court judge said she reached her conclusion with "no enthusiasm whatsoever" but that Parliament would have to decide whether to introduce "no-fault" divorce on demand.

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.

"It is likely that significant numbers of married observers of non-Judeo- Christian faiths are also in a similar position to members of the Muslim community", she said.

The Supreme Court's decision today also means that getting divorced in England and Wales will remain, in principle, more complex than in dozens of other jurisdictions, including Chile, China and Russian Federation where "no fault" divorce exists (for more detail see Penningtons Manches' recent worldwide barometer report).

Tini has been waging legal war against her husband since 2016, when a family court judge refused to grant her divorce.

Barcelona Sign Malcom From Bordeaux After Roma Drama
Malcom's potential move to Roma has been thrown into doubt after Barcelona expressed an interest in signing the Brazilian. He stands out due to his electrifying pace and his technique with the ball at his feet.

Specialist lawyers said Parliament should change the divorce law.

She says he has behaved unreasonably and that she should be allowed to end her marriage.

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

Tini and Hugh Owens, who have two adult children, were married in 1978.

Philip Marshall QC, who leads Tini's legal team, told the supreme court that a "modest shift" of focus in the interpretation of legislation was required.

Lady Hale, in particular, felt that those case-management decisions, in which both parties and the judge had been involved, amounted to "mistakes".

"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".

Unhappiness in marriage is not ground for divorce in the United Kingdom, the Supreme Court has ruled.

In issuing their ruling, the justices made their unease plain, noting that society's expectations for reasonable behaviour have changed since divorce laws were last updated in 1969 and marriage is now seen as a partnership of equals.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top US to propose revoking Calif. authority to set auto emissions rules
Jul 26, 2018 - 20:12
The state's ability to set its own rules has also let to regulations that many in the trucking industry have found onerous. California officials have long said they will sue if the Environmental Protection Agency makes good on the threat.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top US threatens sanctions unless Turkey releases American pastor
Jul 26, 2018 - 20:10
He was arrested in December 2016 and had been in custody since then. Mr Gulen has denied any involvement in the attempted coup.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Maddow doesn’t relent on White House transcript
Jul 26, 2018 - 18:34
National security adviser John Bolton said the meeting, which USA officials initially planned to have in August, would be delayed. Russian Federation will therefore be the primary focus of Mr Pompeo's appearance before the committee.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top United States and European Union should ‘drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies’, Trump says
Jul 26, 2018 - 17:44
It is a clear signal US President Donald Trump is determined to stick with tariffs as his weapon of choice in the conflict. The two sides agreed to agree in the near future on the tariff question.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top At least 20 dead, 100 hurt in wildfires near Athens
Jul 26, 2018 - 17:27
Burned-out cars were scattered outside gated compounds where three- and four-storey buildings bore signs of fire damage. Tsipras and Greek officials have expressed misgivings at the fact that several major fires broke out at the same time.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top I'm not driven by revenge, insists Hamilton
Jul 26, 2018 - 16:19
So I couldn't tell you. "We had eye contact on the podium, and I think it's pretty clear to us that what I said to Valtteri is something that I would also say in the team".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Facebook Shares Plummet After Missing User, Revenue Targets
Jul 26, 2018 - 13:25
Before the results were announced, Facebook's shares had closed in NY at $217.50, a record high, and had gained 23% this year. Only months after a data privacy scandal, Facebook is seeing fewer frequent users than it expected, according to CBS News .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Froome crashes after police mistake him for TDF fan
Jul 25, 2018 - 22:28
But with only 5 kilometers of descent to go, Yates crashed turning a corner and could only watch as Alaphilippe flew past. Great Britain's Geraint Thomas , right, wearing the leader's yellow jersey, and other riders wait for the race to resume.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump blasts Cohen over secret tape disclosure
Jul 25, 2018 - 22:13
McDougal finally sued to get out of the agreement so she could talk freely about the ordeal in April 2018. He said in a tweet it was "perhaps illegal" for a lawyer to record a client.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Old boy Dominic Raab has end-of-term blues
Jul 25, 2018 - 21:46
Precise details will not be known until the withdrawal agreement is concluded. Dominic Raab sat with his hands clasped as if in prayer.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top College student Mollie Tibbetts missing in Iowa after going running
Jul 25, 2018 - 21:29
According to official, 20-year-old Mollie Tibbets was last seen on Wednesday before going for an evening jog. Anyone with information about her is urged to contact the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office at 641-623-5679.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Gunman shoots dead two on street in Toronto
Jul 25, 2018 - 19:05
People who knew Fallon described her as "very smart" and with "full of energy", the report added. "It is a huge loss". Mayor John Tory said domestic trafficking must be addressed in light of what he called the city's "gun problem".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump warns Iran to 'never, ever threaten' USA or suffer consequences
Jul 24, 2018 - 22:56
Asked by reporters Monday afternoon whether he had any concerns about provoking tensions with Iran, Mr. Every other country in the pact has said it will uphold the deal.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Longest total lunar eclipse of 21st century coming Friday
Jul 24, 2018 - 22:12
Those of you in the United Kingdom should look for this eclipse starting in at around 11PM (that's 23:00 hours) local time. In all places except for the place from which you're most likely situated will get an opportunity to view this eclipse.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Google's Alphabet hit by Europe's other GDPR: Global Domination = Profit Reduction
Jul 24, 2018 - 21:36
Google is appealing the ruling. "We are analyzing the decision and I think it's too early to comment or speculate", he said . The shares rose as much as 5.3 per cent, the most in nearly nine months, to US$1,275 at the market open in New York Tuesday.