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Our blog provides illustrated practical guides for those going through the divorce process, plus news on divorce, money and family breakdown.

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20 February 2017

Woman seeks to end 39-year marriage after judge refused to grant divorce

A 65-year-old woman who wants to divorce her husband of nearly 40 years staged an “extraordinarily unusual” Valentine’s Day court fight, reports The Guardian.

Tini Owens has failed to persuade a family court judge to allow her to divorce husband, Hugh Owens, 78.

Judge Robin Tolson, who hears cases in Oxford, refused to grant Mrs Owens’ divorce petition in a ruling made last year. Now she wants court of appeal judges to overturn that decision. Three appeal judges are analysing the case at a hearing in London.

A barrister representing Tini Owens told the appeal court on Tuesday the “vast majority” of divorces were undefended in 21st century England.

Philip Marshall QC added: “It is extraordinarily unusual in modern times for a court to dismiss a petition for divorce.”

Appeal judges were told the couple had married in 1978 and had lived near Worcester. Marshall said Tini Owens’ case was that her husband had behaved unreasonably and that the marriage had irretrievably broken down. Hugh Owens disagreed and denied allegations made against him. He was against divorce and said they still had a “few years” to enjoy, Marshall told appeal judges. Judge Tolson had ruled against Tini Owens, concluding that her allegations were “of the kind to be expected in marriage” and refused to grant her petition.

Marshall said Tolson had failed to make “proper findings of fact” and argued that his ruling should be overturned. He indicated that the couple were jointly involved in business ventures and owned property in Britain and Holland.

The hearing continues.