Important update: in April 2019, the government confirmed that England & Wales will (at some point) change the current laws and introduce no-fault divorce. The information in this blog is still valid until the laws change, however when this will be has not yet been confirmed. For updates on no-fault divorce, please enter your email address below and we'll alert you about any important changes.
You’ve probably seen the coverage regarding Tini Owens in the news recently. This story has sparked debate over the last few years for a number of reasons. If you’d like a better understanding of the background, here’s a recap on the story and why it’s important.
Tini Owens is well known because her application to divorce her husband of 40 years was refused by not only the High Court and but also the Court of Appeal. The case is now being reviewed by the Supreme Court who also rejected the divorce application.
Tini used ‘unreasonable behaviour’ as the reason for the breakdown of the marriage. Her husband, Hugh Owens, contested the divorce as he didn’t agree that the examples of his behaviour satisfied the requirements of the law. In 2016, the High Court refused her petition, stating that her husband’s behaviour had not been unreasonable.
You can expect to see a lot of coverage in July about this case as on Wednesday 25th July 2018, the Supreme Court also rejected the divorce petition. This means Tini must stay married to her husband until 2020.
There are divided opinions on this case. Some are outraged that Tini has been refused a divorce and therefore is being forced to stay unhappily married. Some believe that the behaviour examples were not sufficient enough for a judge to agree to the divorce. And some believe it is high profile example of why we should have no-fault divorce in England and Wales.
Unreasonable behaviour is one of the five reasons that can be used in English and Welsh law to prove that your marriage has broken down past the point of repair. It is the most common reason used to get divorced.
No fault divorce refers to divorcing your partner without the need to blame one person for the breakdown of the marriage. No-fault divorce currently does not exist in England and Wales so in most cases, couples are forced to enter a blame game to get divorced. A YouGov survey revealed that 69% of people agree that people should be able to divorce without having to blame their spouse. So, why hasn’t the law caught up with the majority?