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A terrible muddle: the issue of no-fault divorce
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On 17 May this year, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Owens v Owens
. Never before has it had to consider what is meant by s 1(2)(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) 'that the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petition cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent', or (for short), 'unreasonable behaviour'.
The case concerned Tini and Hugh Owens (respectively 68 and 80 years old), who married in 1978 and have two adult children. Mrs Owens (W) left the marital home in February 2015 and issued a behaviour petition citing particulars of a standard 'anodyne' nature with which all practitioners will be familiar, with mood swings and disparaging behaviour being at the heart of the allegations. However, Mr Owens (H) indicated an intention to defend, and filed an answer denying irretrievable breakdown. W obtained leave to amend her petition to give more detail of her allegations. She came up with 27 specific instances of the alleged behaviour. H responded to each one and the matter went to trial.
Read the full article here.