Wife of 39 years fails in divorce refusal appeal

Wife of 39 years fails in divorce refusal appeal

A 66-year-old British woman who says she is "desperately unhappy" in her 39 years of marriage has lost the latest round of an extraordinarily unusual court battle.

Tini Owens asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a family court ruling, which said she could not divorce her husband Hugh Owens, 78.

But the appeal judges, led by Sir James Munby, upheld the original ruling.

However, the judge did point out that some people would feel unhappiness should be grounds for divorce.

The decision means Owens will have to remain married, although after five years of separation she would be eligible for a divorce even if her husband still objected, the BBC reported.

The couple married in 1978 and lived in Broadway, Worcestershire.

The Court of Appeal heard that Tini Owens' case was that the marriage had broken down, although her husband disagreed, saying that the couple still had a "few years" to enjoy.

But she contended that she had been left in a "wretched predicament", locked in a "loveless and desperately unhappy" marriage.

She had made 27 allegations about the way he treated her, including that he was "insensitive" in his "manner and tone" and said she was "constantly mistrusted" and felt unloved.

Opposing a family court ruling made last year by Judge Robin Tolson, who refused to grant a divorce petition on the basis her allegations were "of the kind to be expected in marriage", she took the case to the Court of Appeal.

But today, Sir James - the most senior family court judge in England and Wales - said: "We cannot interfere with Judge Tolson's decision, and refuse the wife the decree of divorce she sought."

He said Judge Tolson had correctly concluded that the marriage had not "in law" irretrievably broken down.

However, the judge added: "Parliament has decreed that it is not a ground for divorce that you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage, though some people may say it should be."

Appeal judges analysed the case at a hearing in London last month and announced their decision to dismiss the appeal in a written ruling. 

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