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The court heard that Tini was left feeing isolated, unloved and alone after 40 years of marriage, but the five Supreme Court justices residing over the case agreed with Hugh's statement that his wife was simply more sensitive than most wives.

While Mrs Owens drafted her petition to divorce in language which tried to be as inoffensive as possible, when it was served to Mr Owens he chose to fight the divorce, arguing the marriage had been "largely successful". She describes such petitions as being "conduct-based" rather than "fault-based", the terms "unreasonable behaviour" being misleading (as Mrs Owens had initially pointed out, this term does not appear in the legislation).

"Whilst the Supreme Court has, reluctantly, applied the law correctly, the fact that they have done so confirms there is now a divorce crisis in England and Wales, and the Government needs to take urgent action to address it", said Nigel Shepherd, a former Resolution chairman.

A year ago the Court of Appeal in London upheld that ruling, and five Supreme Court justices have now also ruled against her.

Simon Beccle, Owens' attorney, said the public would find the decision "hard to understand".

Supreme Court judge Nicholas Wilson said the case raised "uneasy feelings" but upheld the decision to deny the divorce, which had already won support at the Court of Appeal. She will therefore need to wait until 2020 to divorce on the basis that they have been separated for five years. However, crucially, it wasn't until 2015 that she moved out of the home she and her husband shared together. They said she had failed to establish in the legal sense that her marriage had broken down irretrievably.

One appeal judge said she had reached her conclusion with "no enthusiasm whatsoever" but that Parliament would have to decide whether to introduce "no fault" divorce on demand.




He also said there was a question for parliament in whether the law governing entitlement to divorce remained satisfactory.

The Supreme Court today, Wednesday 25 July, delivered its verdict on the application from the appellant and wife Tini Owens challenging the earlier rulings by the Court of Appeal and the original trial judge.

Hugh's lawyer said the Supreme Court got it right because Tini "was essentially advocating divorce by unilateral demand".

Mrs Owens' solicitor said she was "devastated" by the decision and "cannot move forward with her life".

Another said Parliament had "decreed" that being in a "wretchedly unhappy marriage" was not a ground for divorce. In particular, she felt that "this was a case which depended upon the cumulative effect of a great many small incidents said to be indicative of authoritarian, demeaning and humiliating conduct over a period of time" (paragraph 50), and that the hearing "was not set up or conducted in a way which would enable the full flavour of such conduct to be properly evaluated".

And with the case still dismissed by the Supreme Court justices, Tini had left without a recourse. "The clamour in the legal profession for reform of our arcane divorce laws and the introduction of no-fault divorces is now deafening".


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