Supreme Court to hear rare contested divorce case

The Supreme Court will decide whether a woman can divorce her husband even though he contested the move.

The case of Tini Owens, 67 and her husband Hugh, 78 has raised questions about whether there should be an overhaul of the divorce law in England and Wales.

Mrs Owens said her marriage had broken down irretrievably, alleging that her husband had behaved unreasonably and prioritised his work over home life. Mr Owens, however, contested the divorce, saying the couple still have a “few years” to enjoy together.

Lower courts have ruled that Mrs Owens had not proved she was entitled to a divorce decree.

Mrs Owens argued that their marriage is over and she filed a petition for divorce when they separated in 2015.

At present divorce decrees are granted in England and Wales after it has been proven that a marriage has broken down due to adultery, desertion or “unreasonable behaviour” or because the spouses both consent to the move and have lived apart for more than two years. If one party contests the petition, the couple need to have lived apart for more than five years for the divorce to be granted.