A UK woman who was refused a divorce by judges has taken her case to the Supreme Court.
Tini Owens had previously failed to persuade judges in both the High Court and Court of Appeal to allow her to divorce her husband of 39 years - Hugh Owens – after she claimed the marriage had broken down following an affair she had several years earlier.
In March this year, Court of Appeal judges accepted that although in fact, if not in law, her marriage was irretrievably broken, she could not get divorced as the law currently stands and that a “no fault” divorce needed to be introduced by Parliament to address situations like this.
This week however Ms Owens was granted permission to appeal in the case, in a move supported by family lawyers in the UK.
Clare Wiseman, partner and head of the family law team in Birmingham of Irwin Mitchell, said the time for no-fault divorce had arrived as “it is clear the law in this area has not kept pace with current thinking.”
“The requirement for one party to blame the other for the breakdown of their marriage needlessly creates conflict and does not assist in constructive negotiations to resolve arrangements for the children and finances,”Ms Wiseman added.
“It is not a question of undermining marriage, but removing unnecessary hostility and the added legal costs that usually flow from that, improving the situation for families and children where a marriage has come to an end.
“We look forward to hearing what the Supreme Court has to say on this issue and hope that the government will take any relevant legislative action to help reduce this source of conflict between separating couples.”
Bryan Scant, a solicitor at law firm Coffin Mew, agreed, adding that the current legislation was “absurd” and that currently individuals who desperately wish to end their marriage are “compelled to remain married due to outdated divorce laws.”
“Family lawyers,” Mr Scant added, “have been campaigning hard for a change in the law to allow a spouse to obtain a divorce on a no-fault basis and this case simply highlights the need for reform in this area.”
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