(Court of Appeal, Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, Hallett, Macur LJJ, 24 March 2017)
Marriage and divorce – Petition – Refusal
The wife’s appeal from a refusal to grant a decree nisi of divorce was dismissed.
The husband and wife married in 1978 and had two children together. They separated in 2015 and the wife petitioned for divorce on the grounds that the marriage had irretrievably broken down and that the husband had behaved in such a way that she could not reasonably be expected to live with him: s 1(2)(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The husband contested the application.
At first instance the judge held that the wife’s allegations of unreasonably behaviour were at best flimsy and the application was refused.
The wife appealed.The appeal was dismissed. In this instance the judge applied the law correctly as it stood although there was a strong argument that the law no longer reflected modern day realities and that no fault divorce was called for. The wife was not left totally without remedy since she could wait until February 2020 and apply under 1(2)(e) of the Act.