Unhappy marriage not grounds for divorce

A woman who was seeking a divorce after a 40 year marriage has lost her case.

Supreme court judges “reluctantly” told Tini Owens that she must remain married because a joyless marriage is not adequate grounds for a divorce if one spouse refuses to agree.

Five judges unanimously upheld rulings by a family court and the court of appeal that Tini Owens, 68, must remain married to Hugh Owens, 80.

The supreme court judge Lord Wilson said in the majority ruling, “The appeal of Mrs Owens must be dismissed. She must remain married to Mr Owens for the time being.

“Parliament may wish to consider whether to replace a law which denies to Mrs Owens any present entitlement to a divorce in the above circumstances.”

Tini first consulted solicitors about a divorce in 2012. Although she had an affair, the couple continued to live together until February 2015.

In May 2015, Tini petitioned for divorce, claiming her husband had prioritised his work over their home life, that their marriage was a loveless one and that she had grown apart from him.

Hugh denied the allegations.

Lord Wilson noted in the judgment that Tini would be able to divorce in 2020, when the couple will have been separated for five years and she will be eligible for a divorce without consent or evidence of fault.