Law change hope Min­is­ter says di­vorce rule re­form is on cards

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By ED STILLIARD

AWOMAN stuck in a mar­riage could be able to fi­nally di­vorce her hus­band of 40 years if new laws are in­tro­duced.

Tini Owens was told last year that she would have to re­main mar­ried to her hus­band af­ter her at­tempt to di­vorce him went to the Supreme Court.

She said Hugh Owens had be­haved un­rea­son­ably and ar­gued that she should not have to re­main mar­ried to him.

But Mr Owens won’t agree to a di­vorce and de­nies Mrs Owens’ al­le­ga­tions about his be­hav­iour.

Now in her late 60s, she mar­ried him in 1978 and lived in Broad­way, Worces­ter­shire.

But she said she was un­happy in their mar­riage and pe­ti­tioned for a di­vorce in 2015 af­ter mov­ing out of the mar­i­tal home.

Last year judges felt un­able to grant her a di­vorce and ruled against her “with re­luc­tance” and said it was down to Par­lia­ment to change the law.

Now The Times is re­port­ing that laws al­low­ing cou­ple to di­vorce quickly with­out a blame game could be in­tro­duced within months af­ter they cam- paigned for changes.

Jus­tice sec­re­tary David Gauke is pre­par­ing to in­tro­duce a bill to the House of Com­mons call­ing for re­form to the law.

It comes af­ter 110,000 cou­ples di­vorced in Eng­land and Wales last year un­der laws which have been con­demned as “un­fit for pur­pose”

The new bill will en­able cou­ples to di­vorce with­out mak­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of bad be­hav­iour, by giv­ing no­tice that a mar­riage has bro­ken down ir­re­triev­ably.

Mr Gauke told The Times he pub­lished a con­sul­ta­tion pa­per las­tau­tumn to which more than 600 re­sponses have been re­ceived.

“[They] were over­whelm­ingly in sup­port,” he said, “which is why I re­main as con­vinced as I have been for the need to re­form this par­tic­u­lar area.

“I hope to re­spond early next month and to take for­ward leg­is­la­tion in the next ses­sion of par­lia­ment.”

He added that the Min­istry of Jus­tice would be able next month to re­spond for­mally to the con­sul­ta­tion.

“I need to go through the for­mal pro­cesses in gov­ern­ment but my am­bi­tion will be to bring that leg­is­la­tion at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity, which will be in the next ses­sion of par­lia­ment.”

The new par­lia­men­tary year starts in May.

Mrs Owens told The Times she was “dev­as­tated” by the Supreme Court de­ci­sion trap­ping her in her mar­riage.

She added: “I am very pleased to hear that leg­is­la­tion is due to be brought in and hope that in the fu­ture, cou­ples will not have to en­dure the long and com­pli­cated di­vorce process that I have been go­ing through, which has lasted over four years so far.” ed­[email protected]­plc.com

Tini Owens

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