A woman in her 60s has been granted permission to appeal her bitter divorce dispute at the Supreme Court.
Last year Tini Owens was refused a divorce from Hugh, her husband of no less than 35 years. Unusually he decided to defend her application, and even more unusually the Judge ruled in his favour, claiming Mrs Owens had failed to establish, as required by current law, that his behaviour had been sufficiently “unreasonable” to merit divorce.
This ruling was backed by the Court of Appeal in March this year. There Sir James Munby noted 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.”
She will be represented at the Supreme Court by barristers Philip Marshall QC, Stephen Jarmain and Millicent Benson, all of leading family law chambers 1 King’s Bench Walk. In a press release they set out the legal argument they plan to make before the Justices of the Supreme Court . This will be:
“…that the Courts’ emphasis on trying to find that a Respondent’s behaviour is in some way “unreasonable” is wrong. It will be argued that this is a “linguistic trap” and that the statute does not require unreasonable behaviour, but simply behaviour such that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.”
Graham Coy, a Partner in Stowe Family Law’s London office, welcomed the announcement:
“Mrs. Tiny Owens has just been given permission to go ahead and appeal to The Supreme Court against the refusal to grant her a Divorce. This was in spite of the fact that previously Judges had accepted that her marriage had “come to an end in fact if not in law. This makes no sense at all and the Supreme Court now has an opportunity to bring some common sense to bear at last. The refusal of previous Courts to accept the reality of the situation and grant Mrs. Owens a Divorce shows just how out of touch our current law is. This cannot be allowed to continue. It is neither fair nor just.”
Photo of King’s Bench Walk, Temple, London by Colin Smith via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence