Is my Divorce going to be straightforward?

Hmmnn… “probably” is what most Divorce lawyers will say even after the recent case of Tini Owens, widely reported in the press following the Court of Appeal's decision not to overturn a lower court’s ruling that she could not divorce her husband after a 39 year marriage. 

The reality is that most “divorces” are straight forward. In fact it’s often the sorting out of the related finances and children’s arrangements which are the challenge for most separating couples and their lawyers. The Owens case was unusual, primarily because Mr Owens decide to defend the divorce. Most spouses, even if they don’t particularly want a divorce, don’t actively defend divorce proceedings because of the cost and effort it involves.

This case does, however, underline the procedural requirements needed for Divorce though which most people may not be aware of. You can’t just get divorced because you are unhappy or haven fallen out of love with your spouse.

The particular issue before the court in the Owens case was whether the marriage had come to an end on the basis of Mr Owens unreasonable behaviour. The law states that you must prove your marriage has “irretrievably broken down”' and use one of the five following reasons to explain why:


Unreasonable behaviour


You have lived apart for more than two years and both agree to the divorce

You have lived apart released five years even if your husband or wife disagrees

So for unreasonable behaviour you need to prove that your spouse’s behaviour was/is unreasonable. Sometimes clients struggle to come up with reasons to blame their spouse for the marriage breakdown or feel uncomfortable doing so. In the Owens case the Judge decided that Wife had not proved her case.

There have been calls for divorce law to be changed to make it “no fault” but in the meantime, with divorce law as it is, if you need help with any of the issues raised please contact Alison Whistler on 01635 517128 or