SPECIAL NOTE: You think UK is bad? Go to China…now the Chinese government are worried about increasing number of divorces daily, so much so, the government is setting up offices in many towns and cities across China, to do what? To inform you, you have two weeks to think over about divorce, and if you think you really want it after 2 weeks, come back to the office and we will grant you a divorce. Yes, many young people divorce each other for stupid ignorant reasons, many are brought up as single child and they have no experiences living with another human creature, other than their parents…many pundits and commentators have talked about the problem and dire consequences of one-child policy, though the government last year inssued an order for 2 children, and this year 3 children and many women simply do not care what the government wants…they want what they want, they are used to the norm of one child! Ahahahahahhaha! Anyway I feel sorry for this British couple…if you are like some rich Americans, you can have His bedroom Her bedroom, His car, Her car, or better still, one live in the east coast, the other west coast! that is the American style of staying married, because divorce is getting too expensive…so live in separate rooms under the same roof! The new word in USA is Bi-coastal existence! Why bother to waste so much money fattening the lawyers’ pockets, just enjoy your life…unless of course you are also having a lover somewhere…I spent a few days in Helsinki and my dear host (someone I helped to raise him while he was in high school and college, now married with 2 young sons) told me something I could not believe my ears: I am trying to find a girlfriend, what??? A girlfriend besides my wife…he assured me it is a common practice in this part of Finland, and his wife a short distant away was shaking her head! Anyway… to each his own…as we say in America! I heard this when I first came to USA: when you are married, you want to get out, while you are not married, you want to get in! Make up your mind…IN THE WORDS OF A TAOIST PRIEST: all good things must end! Steve, USA July 27, 2018
U.K. Supreme Court rules woman must stay in unhappy marriage
Lawyer Nigel Shepherd says the ruling highlights the need to reform U.K. family law
CBC Radio • July 28, 2018
Her lawyer has described her marriage of four decades as “loveless and unhappy.”
But this week, the U.K.’s Supreme Court denied Tini Owens’ request for a divorce — and told her she must stay in the marriage she no longer wants.
Owens likely won’t be able to divorce until 2020 — when the couple will have been living apart for at least five years.
Under U.K. law, a person can only get a divorce without their spouse’s consent in cases of adultery, abandonment or if their partner “has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.”
Tini and Hugh Owens’ case has been moving through the courts for years. And it has some lawyers, like Nigel Shepherd, questioning the country’s divorce laws — and calling for change.
Shepherd is the head of family law at the U.K. firm Mills & Reeve. He spoke with As It Happensguest host Laura Lynch about why he thinks the law is outdated and a change is overdue.
Here it part of their conversation.
Mr. Shepherd, when you learned Tini Owen’s had lost her case, how did you feel for her?
I felt really upset and disappointed for her. This was the final court that she could appeal to. And sadly, the judges, Supreme Court justices, although they would have liked to have done so, with a heavy heart, they felt they couldn’t overturn the previous decisions.
#Breaking Woman who wants to divorce her husband of 40 years because she says their marriage is unhappy loses Supreme Court fight after five justices ruled that Tini Owens must stay married to Hugh Owens
Twitter Ads info and privacy
The judges made the ruling “reluctantly” apparently. What were they feeling reluctant about?
They were reluctant that they couldn’t find a way to interpret the current law in a way that would have given Tini Owens her divorce. It went through the Court of Appeal — three judges there and it went through five Supreme Court justices. I think everybody involved in the case has been struck by the fact that Ms. Owens has had to suffer. And I think it’s very difficult to hear that kind of case without feeling real empathy with her dilemma.
The courts can interpret the law, they can’t change the legislation that’s behind it. And that’s what’s needed here, and the judges have made it quite clear, what’s needed here is parliament to step in and actually reform the current law.
Judgment has been handed down this morning in the case of Owens
For our listeners who perhaps haven’t been following the case, what were Tini Owens’ reasons for wanting a divorce?
She said the marriage had broken down. But it’s not enough to say that the marriage has broken down. You have to establish that by proving one or more of sub-grounds, if you like, and the ground that she went on was behaviour.
The judge that heard the evidence just didn’t think that her 27 allegations of what she said Mr. Owens had done was enough for him to conclude that she couldn’t reasonably be expected to carry on living with him, which is actually the legal test in our jurisdiction.
So disappointed for Tini Owens. The fact that she’ll be locked in this dead marriage until 2020 is quite simply outrageous. It’s time for change
Can you give us some sense of what was on that list?
There were a number of things. One example, they were coming back from holiday. He wanted her to buy a gift for their housekeeper. She went off and she couldn’t find the gift that he had suggested that he buy so he berated her, quite publicly, in the airport.
It was certainly not a one-off. That was just one of, as I say, 27 examples. There was a whole series of things, some of which were more petty than others. But part of this case was about the cumulative effect of a pattern of behaviour over quite a long period of time.
Now, it’s fair to say, that he denied this. He said this was part of the rough and tumble of a 40 year marriage. The judge said, “maybe he’s a little old school.” That’s what the first judge said, and, “maybe she’s a little over sensitive.” And that’s why he felt that she hadn’t got over that threshold that we have under our current behaviour divorce petition law.
What I would like to see personally, what the family justice organization that I’ve recently chaired — which is called Resolution — wants to see, is a system which removes all of that fault in the sense of taking it out of the process. You have a simple notification system.
One or both of you says, at the beginning of the period, I think the marriage is broken down. If after a period of time, whether that’s six months or nine months, we suggest six months, one or both feel the same way, then you get your divorce. No adultery, no behavioural allegations required.
Are you surprised at today’s Supreme Court judgment?
Think the law should change?
So do we. Write to your MP and tell them why reform is needed – we’ve updated our template letter for our members to use: Twitter Ads info and privacy
Just curious to know, do you know her personally?
I don’t. I met her at the hearing in May and she was very dignified. I think it’s fair to say that to take it up to the Supreme Court, I think she’s doing it as much for those that follow her, as for herself, personally.
She says, I don’t want other women to have put up with what I’ve had to put up with and if my case highlights the cause for reform and acts as a catalyst — then she will feel that even though she may not have been personally successful, she has achieved some good out of it.
Written by Katie Geleff and John McGill. Interview produced by Katie Geleff. Q&A edited for length and clarity.