The current process for ending a marriage is demeaning and painful. Owens’s experience of a contested divorce shows it’s time to overhaul the law
In many ways, the case of Owens v Owens is not exceptional. The couple married in 1978, built a prosperous business together, bought property and had children. However, Tini, 66, and husband, Hugh, 78, have lived separately since 2015.
What is unusual is that Mrs Owens’s petition for a divorce has been contested by her husband – something that happens in just 1% of divorces. In this case, Mr Owens refutes the 27 allegations of his “unreasonable behaviour”. More unusual still, Mrs Owens’s divorce petition has been rejected by the high court and the court of appeal, where she was told that her husband’s behaviour was “to be expected in a marriage” and that “parliament has decreed that it is not a ground for divorce that you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage”.