UK: Unhappy marriage not grounds for divorce, supreme court rules

Tini Owens 68 is fighting get divorced from her husband High Owens 60

Tini Owens 68 is fighting get divorced from her husband High Owens 60

A family law judge refused the divorce, saying Tini Owens's allegations were "of the kind to be expected in marriage".

A wife who says she is trapped in a "loveless" marriage must stay with her husband because he will not divorce her, a court has ruled.

Tini Owens, 68, has been denied a divorce from her millionaire husband Hugh Owens, 80, by the Britain's Supreme Court.

Hugh denied the allegations about his behaviour, and while admitting that their relationship had never been - in the paraphrase of Lord Wilson - emotionally intense, he said the couple had learned to "rub along".

Supreme Court president Lady Hale said the case was "very troubling" but judges could only "interpret and apply the law that Parliament has given us". Grounds include, separation, adultery, desertion, or if one person has behaved in such a way that their partner can not be reasonably expected to live with them.

"Naturally, Mrs Owens is devastated by this decision, which means that she can not move forward with her life and obtain her independence from Mr Owens".

Mishcon de Reya family lawyer Antonia Felix said it was inevitable that the decision would offer support to pressure groups who have lobbied for changes in divorce law.

Lord Wilson indicated that Mrs Owens would be able to divorce in 2020, when the couple have been separated for five years.

Mrs Owens first petitioned for divorce in 2015 after moving out of their family home and now lives next door in a home owned by the pair.

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Past year three appeal judges ruled against her after a Court of Appeal hearing in London.

Specialist lawyers said Parliament should change the divorce law. He accused her of having had an affair and being "bored".

Ms Owens had already lost two rounds of the battle.

Handing down its highly-awaited judgment in Owens v Owens, the court dismissed Tini Owens's appeal in relation to a lower court's decision to refuse to grant her a decree nisi, even though the judge had correctly found that the marriage had broken down.

She said for example, that some reports suggest that 61 per cent of the 375,000 or so Islamic couples living in England are not validly married under English law - and thus have no rights before the English courts if divorced.

But Mr Owens' barrister Hamish Dunlop said Mrs Owens "was essentially advocating divorce by unilateral demand" and justices had rightly rejected her appeal.

In her initial divorce proceeding, Tini lodged 27 allegations about the way Hugh mistreated her, including speaking to her in an "insensitive" way and constantly mistrusting her, the BBC reported past year.

Beccle said Mrs Owens "had hoped that the Supreme Court, as it often does, would make a decision which would be forward thinking and fit with the current social mores".

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