The recent Supreme Court decision of Tini Owens raises the thorny issue of whether the current divorce law should be changed to include a ‘no fault’ option for parties who want to get divorced.
Currently there is only one ground for divorce, the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The party starting the divorce must choose from one of five facts to prove that ground. These are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with both parties consenting, five years separation and finally desertion.
If, like in Tini Owens case, you have a spouse that does not want a divorce, has not committed adultery and you have not been separated for over 5 years, then your only fact to use would be unreasonable behaviour. To prove this you have to cite reasons why you can no longer remain living your spouse due to their behaviour being unreasonable.
In Tini Owens case the Supreme Court judges unanimously rejected her appeal against a decision that said Mr Owens behaviour, as cited by Mrs Owen in her divorce petition, was not unreasonable. By not allowing the divorce to continue it left Mrs Owens in the difficult position of being ‘locked in’ a marriage which she found unhappy and which she could not end.
Time to stop the blame game?
If there were a possibility for a no fault divorce then it would allow those like Mrs Owens to simply divorce their spouse without blaming each other and without having to be separated for five years, assuming the spouse does not consent to a divorce based on two years separation.
The decision of the Supreme Court is not likely to be a popular one with the people, but unless Parliament changes the law it will continue to be an issue.
Jenny Sharma, our Head of Family Law has over 15 years of experience in family law and provides a first free interview to all new clients. To book an appointment contact Jenny direct at firstname.lastname@example.org or the offices of JM Wilson Solicitors on 0121 356 4556.
We have just finished a relocation case, successfully acting for a mother who wanted to return to her native Hungary with her young child. The father objected but at a full hearing the judge agreed the move was in the child’s best interests.
In this particular case the child was under 3 years of age and both parents and child lived in UK. Our Head of Family Law, Jenny Sharma, acted for the mother. Both parties were foreign nationals of differing countries. The father objected to the application and wanted the child to remain in the UK so his relationship with the child could continue.
What needs to be considered to relocate a child to another country?
The Judge required full details of the plan for the child if the child were to relocate with mother to Hungary. Also required was detailed information regarding how the mother expected contact to continue between the father and the child. The alternative scenario must also be considered, how contact would progress between both parents if the child remained in the UK given mother’s desire to return to Hungary.
The case was complicated by uncertainty regarding the father’s immigration status for remaining in the UK. Expert knowledge from our immigration solicitors came in handy here as we were able to address the judge regarding options in this regard.
After a full hearing the Judge agreed the child’s best interests were served by returning to Hungary with mother and having regular contact with father in both Hungary and the UK.
Jenny Sharma also successfully dealt with this client’s divorce from start to finish against father of the child.
As always she gave a truly personal service to this client at an extremely emotional and uncertain time for her. She was in the UK alone, with no family to support her and thus Jenny was always available to her by phone, email and visits.
Relocating with a child
If you need any help or advice about relocating to another country with a child, no matter how complicated the circumstances, please get in touch. First appointments with Jenny Sharma are free and your enquiry will be completely confidential and handled sensitively.
Our Head of Family Law – Jenny Sharma – was delighted to receive a thank you gift from a grateful client recently in recognition of her friendly, personal approach in dealing with a divorce case.
Jenny acted for the wife in a case heard in London dealing with resolving the finances connected to the divorce. Our client was not happy with the lack of personal input from a firm of local solicitors and was looking for a more friendly, personal approach