Tini Owens – a 66-year-old woman living in England who has been “desperately unhappy” in her marriage of nearly 40 years – was denied the right to divorce her husband, 78-year-old Hugh Owens.
Judge Robin Tolson, who refused to grant Mrs. Owens a divorce last year, stated that her 27 allegations about the way her husband treats her – including his insensitivity and distrust – are expected to occur in a marriage.
Mrs. Owens went to the Court of Appeal in London on Tuesday to have the ruling overturned.
“The simple fact is that I have been desperately unhappy in our marriage for many years,” she said in a witness statement, adding that she has felt “unloved, isolated, and alone.” Her husband, however, denied all allegations, stating that the two still had a few years of marriage to enjoy and he has forgiven his wife for her affair back in 2012.
In court, her lawyer – Philip Marshall, QC – argued that most British divorces have been undefended in the 21st century. “It is extraordinarily unusual in modern times for a court to dismiss a petition for divorce,” he stated in court, pushing for the ruling to be overturned.
On the other hand, the lawyer representing Mr. Owens – Barrister Nigel Dyer, QC – stated, “At the moment, as the law stands, unhappiness, discontent, disillusionment are not facts which a petitioner can rely upon as facts which prove irretrievable breakdown.”
The three appeal judges, led by Sir James Munby, will review legislation before making a decision. However, Judge Munby had this to say about the case: “It is not a ground for divorce if you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage – people may say it should be.”
Married since 1978, the couple had become millionaires after starting a mushroom-growing business. The court was told that the Owens have been reportedly living in separate homes.
England does not yet recognize no-fault divorce unless a couple has been separated for at least two years with consent.
The Court of Appeal is expected to publish a ruling soon.