Owens V Owens - No divorce for Tini Owens

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
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RubikRubik Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
The Supreme Court have just delivered their judgment in the case of Owens v Owens. They upheld the Court of Appeal's and the original trial judge. The Supreme Court upheld – in a unanimous verdict 5-0 - the earlier courts decisions that the wife would not be granted a divorce despite an unhappy relationship. Both Courts had found that the husband’s behaviour had been tantamount to ‘minor altercations of a kind to be expected in a marriage’.

She must now wait until 2020 (another 18 month) before being able to petition on the grounds of 5 years separation.

full judgment here
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  • Rubik wrote: »
    The Supreme Court have just delivered their judgment in the case of Owens v Owens. They upheld the Court of Appeal's and the original trial judge. The Supreme Court upheld – in a unanimous verdict 5-0 - the earlier courts decisions that the wife would not be granted a divorce despite an unhappy relationship. Both Courts had found that the husband’s behaviour had been tantamount to ‘minor altercations of a kind to be expected in a marriage’.

    She must now wait until 2020 (another 18 month) before being able to petition on the grounds of 5 years separation.

    full judgment here

    Not read the whole 21 pages, but given that she's 68 and he's 80 I think I'd be inclined to let nature take its course :cool:

    They're living in seperate houses, both are wealthy and she's admitted to having an affair with another fella.
    Mrs Owens duly amended her petition. By alleged reference to her diary, she
    gave 27 individual examples of the third and fourth allegations in her petition that
    Mr Owens had been moody and argumentative and had disparaged her in front of
    others.

    AIUI she has to make some allegations against him in order for the legal wheels to get turning. You can't just ask for a divorce without accusing the other person of unreasonable behaviour. So she's come up with a few things, like the example above, and the judge has (rightly) said he's not going to accept that.
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  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    You have to give examples. One problem is that for the last 20 odd years the trend has been to keep allegations to a minimum and to avoid unnecessary mud-slinging to enable people to divorce as amicably as possible. Unfortunately Mr Owens is rich enough and stubborn enough to defend the divorce and it will probably mean that a lot of divorces get a lot nastier, as people feel they need to make more serious allegations to avoid being caught in the same trap.

    Many, many divorces have allegations no stronger than the ones made by Mrs Owens, and I have to say that in my view the judges are wrong - that no-one should reasonably be expected to continue to live with someone who puts them down and disparages them in public. (f they want to stay married, and to see it as part of the ups and down of marriage, that is their choice, but no-one should be being told that verbal abuse or the emotional abuse of being belittled in public is acceptable)
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • mamanmaman Forumite
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    I suppose it depends how far you want to go down the road of easing up divorce law. The judges have ruled on where the red lines are currently drawn.


    I suppose the ones that have been accepted on 'flimsy' allegations of unreasonable behaviour have been with the consent of the other party. This guy doesn't want a divorce for whatever reason. Maybe he finds being belittled in a public court by his wife making disparaging remarks about him upsetting.;)


    I found the other case interesting. IIRC it was Mills v Mills. She was the woman who accepted a full and final settlement, made foolish investments with the money and then went back to try for more. She lost too.:)
  • onomatopoeia99onomatopoeia99 Forumite
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    TBagpuss wrote: »
    Many, many divorces have allegations no stronger than the ones made by Mrs Owens, and I have to say that in my view the judges are wrong - that no-one should reasonably be expected to continue to live with someone who puts them down and disparages them in public. (f they want to stay married, and to see it as part of the ups and down of marriage, that is their choice, but no-one should be being told that verbal abuse or the emotional abuse of being belittled in public is acceptable)

    The precise nature of the allegations were tested in court and the judge in the initial hearing said
    “I find no behaviour such that the wife cannot reasonably be
    expected to live with the husband. The fact that she does not
    live with the husband has other causes
    . The petition will be
    dismissed.”

    The Supreme court justices looked at the original judgment (referred in s 38-41 of todays judgement, I have read the whole thing) and found the process the judge used to be correct.

    Plenty of people on this forum have plainly stated in the past that divorce law should not be reformed to make it easier and faster to obtain a no fault, no consent divorce, due to marriage being a serious commitment that it should not be easy to break, so I expect them all to come out and say how they agree with this judgment and the justices' interpretation of the law parliament has given them, and that they welcome this woman being unable to divorce her husband for another 18 months.

    Ultimately, as the justices have stated, it comes down to parliament which sets divorce law and has created law (in the Matrimonial Causes Act) which means people can be trapped in unhappy marriages for up to five years. I agree with the report cited in s.16 of the judgement.

    I have long argued that divorce law should be reformed to give one year, no fault, no consent divorces, but tend to get shouted down on here ;)
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  • RubikRubik Forumite
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    I have long argued that divorce law should be reformed to give one year, no fault, no consent divorces, but tend to get shouted down on here
    No shouting down from me - this is something I've been advocating for for many years -no one tends to listen, though, but instead commentators keep on insisting we need no-fault divorce (which already exists with the 2 & 5 year separation). No fault divorce wouldn't have helped Mrs Owens anyway - Mr Owens had already refused to consent to a 2 year separation divorce, which is why Mrs Owens cited unreasonable behaviour.

    I agree that the correct decision was made - the Supreme Court is there to uphold the existing law, not to make up new legislation as it goes along.

    I do feel for Mrs Owens, she (and he) have had their marriage and personal relationships poured over by the general public, and yet she must still wait another 18 months to be able to begin divorce proceedings.
  • bugsletbugslet Forumite
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    I have long argued that divorce law should be reformed to give one year, no fault, no consent divorces, but tend to get shouted down on here ;)

    Nor me**, I think you should be able to get married and divorced* in the same amount of time. Not sure how fast you can get married, but it's certainly with a couple/few months.

    *Obviously provision needs to be made where children are concerned.

    **E(just)NTP, libertarian, so it's unsurprising I often agree with you:)
  • Jojo_the_TightfistedJojo_the_Tightfisted Forumite
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    Ugh. If he wasn't behaving unreasonably before, I'd say being prepared to force her to remain married to him when she obviously would rather do anything other than be his wife, sounds pretty damned unreasonable to me.
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  • mamanmaman Forumite
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    maman wrote: »
    I suppose it depends how far you want to go down the road of easing up divorce law. The judges have ruled on where the red lines are currently drawn.


    Judgement seemed to confirm what I said.


    The judges gave their ruling 'with reluctance' saying in effect that it was only government who could make changes to the extent that what the wife wanted could happen.
  • edited 25 July 2018 at 3:13PM
    macmanmacman Forumite
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    edited 25 July 2018 at 3:13PM
    Given that she can obtain a divorce from him in Jan 2020 without his consent, why not just wait until that date? After all, she's been married to him for 40 years, so another 18m is not exactly a lifetime. Unless she wants to remarry before 2020, what exactly is the rush?
    As stated above, the judge correctly stated that if we are to allow no-fault divorce, then it is up to Parliament to legislate accordingly.
    She has only been able to take this to the Supreme Court because she presumably had sufficient wealth to finance it. Having lost, she may have rather less now...
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  • onomatopoeia99onomatopoeia99 Forumite
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    Ugh. If he wasn't behaving unreasonably before, I'd say being prepared to force her to remain married to him when she obviously would rather do anything other than be his wife, sounds pretty damned unreasonable to me.

    That creates a self-fulfilling criteria. "You won't divorce me on the grounds of unreasnable behaviour, well, that is unreasonable behaviour itself so I can get the divorce anyway." Clearly not the intent of parliament in passing the law.

    I leave aside the fact that "unreasonable behaviour" as a divorce criteria is widely misunderstood (even on here, though from the phrasing of the post from TBagpuss earlier, they appear to understand it),
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