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Woman Refused Divorce Because Her Husband Thought They Still Had a Good Few Years Left?!

(32 Posts)
HairsprayBabe Wed 15-Feb-17 12:56:32

Has anyone else seen this? It is bloody ridiculous!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38978661

I can't help but think if it was the other way round then it would 100% have been granted.

That poor woman sad

EssieTregowan Wed 15-Feb-17 12:58:55

What? That's shocking!

VikingVolva Wed 15-Feb-17 13:02:15

Well, we can only hypothesise about what would happen in other cases.

And it is so rare for a divorce to be successfully defended that it makes headline news (and the version as read sounds as if the judgement might be reviewed).

They are still under the same roof, it seems, which suggests that without division of marital assets there would be no way to house herself if she just upped and left (they are both of pensionable age, so income might all be bound up in one stream too).

HairsprayBabe Wed 15-Feb-17 13:02:22

It sounds like he may have been EAing her from some of the content of the article.

I am horrified tbh.

For people who don't want to click:

A woman who says she is "desperately unhappy" in her 39-year marriage is fighting a legal battle against a court's refusal to grant her divorce.
Tini Owens, 66, has asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a family court ruling, which said she couldn't divorce her husband Hugh Owens, 78.
The court heard her case was that the marriage had broken down, but Mr Owens disagreed and said the couple still had a "few years" to enjoy.

Mrs Owens had made 27 allegations about the way Mr Owens treated her, including that he was "insensitive" in his "manner and tone" and said she was "constantly mistrusted" and felt unloved.
"The simple fact is that I have been desperately unhappy in our marriage for many years," she said in a witness statement.
"There is no prospect of reconciliation."

Mr Marshall said judges had to consider the "cumulative effect" of what might be classed as a long list of trivial matters.
"It was my client's complaint that her husband treated her in a childlike way," Mr Marshall told judges.
"And in a way which was effectively that she should agree with his will."
Barrister Nigel Dyer QC, who represented Mr Owens, said appeal judges should not overturn Judge Tolson's ruling.

VestalVirgin Wed 15-Feb-17 13:11:26

What the fucking fuck? I thought the UK was, like, civilised? How the fuck is it possible that a woman cannot fucking legally get a divorce in this country?

VestalVirgin Wed 15-Feb-17 13:25:19

Okay, googled it, apparently, this is normal in most European countries - that is, inability to divorce if one was not able to move out. Which of course disproportionately disadvantages women.

Germany grants a right to divorce if a couple lived separately in a shared flat, whatever that means. (Separate rooms?)

I cannot believe I never realized that this is a very sneaky way to get "only husbands can divorce" in through the back door.

Common sense would say that if a person says they want to get a divorce, then this should be enough reason to give them a divorce. What good reason is there to require separation? It is not like it is a final decision, people can, and have, remarried after a divorce.

M0stlyBowlingHedgehog Wed 15-Feb-17 14:15:07

It's bloody bonkers (came across it in the Telegraph earlier) - I presume it is an instance of a judge being totally batty and stuck somewhere in the 18th century, and hope it will be thrown out at appeal. If it isn't thrown out at appeal, then the law clearly needs changing.

HelenDenver Wed 15-Feb-17 14:32:24

Terrible.

VestalVirgin Wed 15-Feb-17 14:38:45

If it isn't thrown out at appeal, then the law clearly needs changing.

I'd say the law needs changing anyway, as it just shouldn't be up to a judge to decide what a woman does with her life.
This costs that poor woman money and nerves in any case, which is just unnecessary.

aginghippy Wed 15-Feb-17 14:59:55

It sounds like he may have been EAing her from some of the content of the article.

Yes and defending the divorce is using the legal system to control/abuse her further. Why stay with someone who doesn't want to be with you?

VestalVirgin Wed 15-Feb-17 15:09:31

Why stay with someone who doesn't want to be with you?

Every normal judge would have concluded that the husband hates her (why else would he make her stay?) and thus, the marriage is unsalvageable.

(That would be an improvement of the law - either divorce is consensual, or one partner wants to make the other stay against her wishes, in which case the court should rule that the marriage is broken beyond repair, obviously. )

M0stlyBowlingHedgehog Wed 15-Feb-17 15:18:00

What I was thinking off, Vestal, was more the way English case-law works. For instance, with marital rape in 1992, the law wasn't actually changed - there was a crucial judgement by the law lords (as was then - I think their role has now been taken over by the supreme court) which explicitly stated that the prior interpretation of the law (Hale's dictum from the 18th century) was outdated. The law commission report is here.

As I understand it (this is where we need Lass - though she's a lawyer in Scotland where the law was already sensible), the law commision was (circa 1990) looking into getting rid of the common law presumption that a husband could not rape his wife, when that was overtaken by case law, and in particular the judgement of the law lords - see section 1.4 (can't copy and paste as the pdf is a scanned copy of a print document.)

I think what's gone wrong here is that the law already clearly allows for divorce on the basis of "unreasonable behaviour" (it's what my mother used to divorce her first husband way back in 1956), but that this particular judge has a totally screwed idea of just how unreasonable behaviour has to be in order to constitute unreasonable.

Also, as I understand it, after 5 years even if the divorce is contested, you can still just walk away - it's just a much longer time. I totally agree though, it should be the case that you should be able to say "this isn't working for me" and get a divorce in a minimal amount of time, regardless of what your spouse says. ("This isn't working for me" of course doesn't absolve you of financial responsibilities regarding division of the assets, child maintenance, etc.)

But it's not immediately obvious from this case that the law needs changed - the law may be okay, but this judge may have applied it wrongly.

VestalVirgin Wed 15-Feb-17 15:58:07

Hm, I do think the law should not leave too much space for it to be applied wrongly, because idiots exist, and some of them manage to become judges.

I just don't see why we would need a law that forces married couples to stay together. Sure, responsibilities regarding divisions of assets and child maintenance etc. should be enforced, but staying with a spouse? How does society at large benefit from making people unhappy?

That divorce is so hard made sense back when division of assets and child maintenance weren't a thing and women needed protection from just being kicked out of the house and left to die on the streets.

But that's been taken care of in other ways, now. The law now mainly benefits abusive assholes.

Andromache77 Wed 15-Feb-17 16:12:05

What the UK needs is divorce without cause, as in you don't need to state any cause whatsoever other than the fact that you want to divorce your husband or wife. It would not only avoid such asinine rulings but most importantly, it does away with the fight over who's in the wrong, if the stated cause is true or not, etc. That's the law in Spain, which, despite being a nominally Catholic country and being really late in the game as far as allowing divorces is concerned, now has a non-nonsense approach, having also done away with the requirement of first getting a legal separation. You can even bypass the courts altogether if it's consensual and with no minors involved and have a notary certify it, though you still need legal counsel.

RaisinsAndApple Wed 15-Feb-17 19:17:00

Bloody hell - there's a fucking good reason to never get married. The Spanish system sounds much much better.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 15-Feb-17 20:11:37

In Scotland you can get divorced after one year living separately if both consent or 2 years living separately if one object. Or you can use the ground of irretrievable breakdown (unreasonable behaviour or adultery). You would only do so if you weren't prepared to wait 2 years.

Living apart for 1 or 2 years can be treated as proof of irretrievable breakdown whilst still living in the same house but only if no longer living as a married couple and effectively leading separate lives.

Marital rape was made a crime in 1989 by a decision of the High Court of Justiciar you S. v. H.M. Advocate, 1989.

HairsprayBabe Thu 16-Feb-17 08:51:40

I agree hippy The ruling has jsut compounded to this poor woman that his behaviour is acceptable and she should just put up with it.

I get that marriage is a binding legal contract, and provides many protections especially if you cannot work because of the cost of childcare and young children but it just seems like women yet again are second class when it comes to deciding what to do with their own lives.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 16-Feb-17 09:08:42

The English law is the same as Scots law except the periods required are 2 or 5 years rather than 1 or 2. Living in the same house is not problematic ás long as they lead separate lives.

Yoshimihere Thu 16-Feb-17 09:17:43

What an awful thing to do - to force someone to stay married.

Re the process in the uk. When I drafted my divorce petition my solicitor had to get me to beef up the examples to justify unreasonable behaviour until it would satisfy a court. In terms of trying to keep things amicable to co-parent well the process was very unhelpful.

My H doesn't want to divorce yet and i think I may have to wait the two years anyway so I have some insight into that as an alternative. Being financially dependent - and it's nearly always the woman who is in the weaker position re finances - I find myself having to keep my ex happy. We live apart but some of the dynamics remain. I cannot imagine having to live together for that period! Its a vulnerable position to be in without the protection and formality of a financial settlement/divorce.

Andromache77 Thu 16-Feb-17 12:58:23

It's ridiculous that an adult should be asked to justify why they don't want to continue married. Just the wish not to should be plenty enough. And as some pp pointed out above, having to hang out your marriage's dirty linen in a divorce petition is hardly conducive to a good future relationship or effective co-parenting.

SenecaFalls Thu 16-Feb-17 15:21:20

I had no idea that this was possible under English law. All but three states in the US allow for unilateral no-fault divorce.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 16-Feb-17 17:38:01

This is what XH thought was going to happen when we went to court: that all he had to do was not agree and the judge would say we had to stay together. Thank fuck the judge we had was sane, otherwise the only way out would have been killing myself - and frankly that option was becoming increasingly attractive. I don't know what substance that one in the article is on but I don't want any of it.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 16-Feb-17 18:26:33

I had no idea that this was possible under English law. All but three states in the US allow for unilateral no-fault divorce

As do England and Wales and Scotland. There is no need to prove fault if both parties agree after a 1 year separation in Scotland or 2 years in England. If one party disagrees the period is 2 years in Scotland and 5 in England.

HecateAntaia Thu 16-Feb-17 18:35:03

I feel there's probably an element of ageidm here on the judge's part.
Were they a couple in their 30's i suspect she would not have talked of them having a few good years left.

You're very old. What's the point in leaving? Put up and shut up. You'll be dead soon.

Datun Thu 16-Feb-17 18:37:46

It is not a ground for divorce if you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage

Fucking arrogant dinosaur.

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