Law change hope Minister says divorce rule reform is on cards
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