In May 2018, the case of Owens v. Owens was brought to the UK Supreme Court. Mrs Tini Owens, who filed for divorce in 2015, claimed that her marriage had broken down due to her husband’s “unreasonable behaviour”. However, the courts disagreed that Mr Hugh Owens had behaved unreasonably, and on the 25th July 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in the same way.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was made on the basis that English law insists a divorce can only take place if blame can be assigned to one of the partners. If no fault can be assigned, the partners can only then get divorced if they have lived separately for a period of up to five years. Since the Court could not assign blame to Mr Owens on account of his alleged “unreasonable behaviour”, it could not grant Mrs Owens her divorce.
No-fault divorce in Scotland
This judgement has shocked the public in England who are now looking to Scotland’s no-fault divorce law as a positive example of how English divorce law can be reformed. Unlike its English equivalent, Scots law does not require claimants to assign blame to their spouse in order to get divorced, and allows divorce on the basis of only two years of non-cohabitation. This approach has been praised, with some calling for it to be adopted in England, as Owens v. Owens has highlighted the need for reform.
Contact our specialist Divorce Lawyers Glasgow, Scotland
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