Businessman fails in bid to prevent divorce after map-reading row

Divorce|Family Law|News|February 26th 2013

A property investor whose wife divorced him after an argument over map reading has been refused permission to appeal an order granting her a divorce.

Mark Howell, from Kennington in south London, rowed with his wife Nalini during a wine-tasting holiday in Burgundy in 2011,.the Evening Standard reports. She had been reading the map and he insisted on pulling over because he felt they were lost and they then engaged in a brief row.

She subsequently filed for divorce and was granted a decree nisi by Judge Michael Horowitz QC last year. The judge is reported to have admitted having similar arguments about reading maps with his own wife.

Mr Howell wished to appeal the ruling, insisting that his marriage was still viable. He was also unhappy about being ordered to pay his wife’s £20,000 legal bill, the Standard reports.

He told Lord Justice Thorpe:

“There was nothing on which the judge could conclude that my wife could not be reasonably expected to live with me. I believe as I stand here that the marriage has not irretrievably broken down. She said that there had been lots of arguments between us, but she never mentioned any arguments to the judge when asked a direct question, apart from one about map reading on the way to a wine tasting in France.”

But Lord Justice Thorpe ruled against the 60 year-old businessman, saying:

“The conclusion of the judge was that the marriage had irretrievably broken down. He concluded that the wife had proved her case. The husband’s appeal against that is manifestly very difficult.”

His wife’s case had been made “at a minimum to satisfy the legal test”, said Lord Justice Thorpe, in order to “save the husband from assertions that might appear gratuitous or unkind.”

He added, however:

“Mr Howell is a man of considerable intelligence and he has advanced his case with courtesy.”

Photo by Greg Williams via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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