Wife loses fight for right to divorce

27 July 2018

Alexandra Bishop, associate in Kingsley Napley's family and divorce team has been quoted in the Law Society Gazette, Family Law Week and Yahoo UK News regarding Owens v Owens.

Please see below Alexandra's commentary in the Law Society Gazette:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Owens v Owens has today highlighted the urgent need for reform of our divorce law. Unfortunately the Justices’ hands were tied over this case - they are there to interpret the law and not to change it. Mrs Owens will now need to wait until 2020 to rely on the ground of 5 years separation - Parliament must now take urgent action to change the law.  It cannot be right that one party is locked into a loveless marriage against their wish and family lawyers should not have to “beef up” particulars in divorce petitions in order to satisfy the statutory requirements to get divorces off the ground.  As it stands our law requires a marriage to be irretrievably broken down and one party to be deemed ‘at fault’ before a divorce can be granted – this simply leads to unnecessary hostility and distress for both parties, and in particular any children involved. In tabling her recent private members bill to change this, Baroness Butler-Sloss described the current law as unfit for purpose. This has been highlighted in glorious technicolour today. It is of course extraordinary that Mrs Owens’ situation exists in modern times. MPs from all parties need to support the Bill requiring a review of our divorce law for Mrs Owens and all other spouses in this country who don’t want to wait years for a divorce if their spouse objects to the end of their marriage. The fight must continue to make sure that divorce law is apt for today’s modern society.“ 

Further information

Alexandra Bishop also wrote for Spears'Owens v Owens: a blow for ‘no fault’ divorce' on 27 July 2018.

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