THE CASE OF OWENS V OWENS – PERMISSION TO APPEAL THE DECISION AGAINST THE DISMISSAL OF HER DIVORCE PETITION: SUPREME COURT HEARING ON THURSDAY 17 MAY 2018

16 / 05 / 2018

Previously, I wrote about the case of Owens v Owens which is a case where the wife appealed against the dismissal of her divorce petition, after her husband, unusually, defended the divorce. She was not successful in that appeal to the Court of Appeal.  The wife however was granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and the hearing is due to take place tomorrow (17 May 2018).

 

The wife is hoping that she will be successful as otherwise she needs to wait five years since the date of the parties’ separation until she can apply for a divorce (her having not (as yet) been successful in her unreasonable behavior petition, the grounds of adultery and desertion both not being applicable and the husband not consenting to a divorce so that the ground of two years separation with consent cannot be used). As it stands, the wife is trapped married to her husband when it is evident the marriage is at an end – she does not want to remain married to him. This situation has led to a lot of media interest in the case, as well as various individuals and organisations campaigning for a change in the law and calling for a reform so that there is “no-fault” divorce. Others however, believe that it may make divorce to easy and point to the sanctity of marriage.

 

The Judges in the Court of Appeal will not however be deciding on whether no-fault divorce should be introduced but are instead deciding on whether it was correct that Mrs. Owen’s divorce petition should have been dismissed. Should she be allowed a divorce based on her husband’s alleged unreasonable behaviour? Alternatively, should she have to wait for 5 years since the parties separated?