Refusal of wife's divorce petition brings new calls for 'no-fault' reform

The England and Wales Court of Appeal (EWCA) has refused to grant a divorce to a woman who cited as grounds for divorce that her husband did not love her, was sometimes unpleasant to her, and often caused her unhappiness.

Tini Owens' husband of 35 years opposed her divorce petition, and the EWCA agreed with him that the grounds cited did not amount to irretrievable breakdown under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (Owens v Owens, 2017 EWCA Civ 182). In its ruling, the EWCA upholds a 2016 decision by the Central Family Court refusing to grant Tini Owens a divorce. The outcome of the case has triggered calls from divorce lawyers for parliament to introduce 'no fault' divorce, and warnings that the decision would force separating couples to make more aggressive allegations to justify marital breakdown.

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