The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Mrs Owen’s appeal in the case of Owens v Owens and brings to the fore the issue of whether Parliament urgently needs to introduce changes to the current law with the introduction of ‘No fault’ divorce.
Today’s decision means that Mrs Owen who is said to have been contemplating a divorce since 2012 will have to wait until 2020 to divorce her husband on the basis of 5 years separation having only left the family home in 2015.
Mrs Owen had petitioned on the basis of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour. Mr Owens denied the behaviour and pointed to Mrs Owen own behaviour as perhaps the cause if any as to the breakdown of the marriage.
The appeal judges expressed having ‘uneasy feelings’ in giving their judgment but they were bound by the current legal framework. The examples given by Mrs Owen of her husband’s behaviour were considered to be ‘flimsy and exaggerated’. Mrs Owen sought to argue that she should not have to prove that Mr Owen’s behaviour was unreasonable. Mr Owen’s legal team disagreed and the Supreme Court agreed that as the law stood at present it was the case that the wife would need to prove the behaviour alleged if disputed.
Based on the experience of many of our clients MWSL supports the call for a change in the law. The problem with the current law is that to get divorced couples are legally required to assign blame for the relationship breakdown, unless they have lived apart for 2 years. This makes an amicable separation more difficult, and can have a negative impact on any children, as it increases tensions at what is already a difficult time. As we all know sometimes in life things just don’t work out, but the current law does not allow for that, and currently one party has to blame the other with sufficient detail to met the legal test, this forces many couples into coming up with something to be able to divorce, which is a legal fudge. It is the view of all the leading lawyers’ organisations that the current divorce law is not fit for today’s modern society.
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Our team of dedicated Family Lawyers have years of experience dealing in all aspects of Family Law and can help you to resolve your dispute with your former partner in a pragmatic and cost effective way. If you would like to speak to one of our specialist Family Solicitors call us today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.