Till death do us part. The age-old vow takes on new meaning for a 68-year-old UK woman who’s been denied a divorce by the British Supreme Court.
Tini Owens married businessman Hugh Owens in 1968. They had two children, built up a million-dollar mushroom business and amassed an impressive property folio.
But behind the shiny facade, Mrs Owens was unhappy, describing her marriage as “wretched”. She left the matrimonial home in 2015 and had an affair, hoping to severe ties with her husband.
This Wednesday, however, five justices rejected Mrs Owens’ petition for divorce. The grounds? Mr Owens, 80, doesn’t want to split; he believes his wife is just “bored”.
Under current legislation, obtaining a divorce without a spouse’s consent in England or Wales is no mean feat. One must prove that the relationship has broken down due to adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertation – or alternatively, live apart for five years.
This is not the first time Mrs Owens has made her case. Last year, she told the court that she felt “unloved, isolated and alone” in her marriage, and that her husband criticised and humiliated her in public. The judge described her husband’s behaviour as “old school”, but dismissed her plea.
This week, one of the judges proclaimed that being in “a wretchedly unhappy marriage” was not grounds for divorce.
Such comments have sparked debate about divorce legislation reform, particularly in light of new laws surrounding coercive control, a hidden form of domestic abuse.