A woman recently went to the Court of Appeal to overturn a Family Court ruling that she shouldn’t be granted a divorce on the grounds of the unreasonable behaviour of her husband of 39 years.
Judge Tolson of the Family Court had ruled in favour of Mr Owens; he concluded that Mrs Owens’ allegations were “of the kind to be expected in marriage” and that he had to make a decision based on the rules for ‘fault-based divorce’.
Mrs Owens, 66 years old, argued that her husband, 78, was “insensitive” and that she was trapped in a “loveless and desperately unhappy” marriage with “no prospect of reconciliation”. Mr Owens, however, denied this was the case, stating that they still had a “few years” left in their relationship to enjoy.
In the Court of Appeal Sir James Munby added that “Parliament has decreed that it is not a ground for divorce that you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage, though some people may say it should be.” The appeal Judges had to rule according to current law, albeit “with no enthusiasm whatsoever”.
The case has led divorce lawyers to call for the law to be changed to introduce “no fault” divorce to bring about much needed reform to “archaic” divorce laws.