Update on the Owens case

On the 17th May 2018 a woman being denied a divorce by her husband told the Supreme Court in London that the law is expecting her to live with him against her will.

Earlier in the year MTB Newsroom reported that the lower Courts rejected Tini Owens’s petition to divorce Hugh Owens, a mushroom farmer.  The couple had been married for thirty eight years and they presently lived in adjoining properties in Worcestershire.

Mrs Owens told the Supreme Court that she should not be expected to remain with her husband of thirty eight years given that they had been separated for three years and that there was “no prospect whatsoever” that they would ever live together ever again.

One will recall that Mrs Owens issued a petition for divorce on Valentine’s Day.  Mrs Owens’ legal team told The Times that the focus of the Supreme Court Justice should be “on the effect Mr Owens’ behaviour has had on her” and not whether it was unreasonable.

The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 provides for divorce in England on the sole ground that the marriage had broken down irretrievably.  Mrs Owens will need to satisfy the Court that Mr Owens has behaved in such a way that she cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.

The couple married in January 1978 but have been living apart since February 2015 but during their time together they built up a mushroom growing business which turns over £5 million a year.  They own four houses plus properties in Wales and France.  It is reported that they live “a genteel live in genteel company”.

Resolution, the 6,500 strong association of family lawyers and other family professionals, says that it should not be necessary to establish some sort of level of bad behaviour before a divorce can be granted.

The decision of the Supreme Court when handed down will be reported on in this blog.  In the meantime, should you wish to discuss the issue of divorce please do not hesitate to contact our Family and Matrimonial Department.