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The Judgment for Owens v Owens

View profile for Muntech Kaur
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Victory for Mr Owens. Much disappointment for Mrs Owens and Resolution, the latter having intervened in this case. Considerable uneasiness is now felt by family practitioners following the 20 page Judgment of the Supreme Court.

So where does this leave us now? How do we do things differently to avoid being in the same situation as Mrs Owens, who is now “forced” to stay married to Mr Owens until such time that the parties have been separated for 5 years? For Mrs Owens this will be until 2020.

Of significance is the interpretation of unreasonable behaviour and that there is a link between unreasonable behaviour and the breakdown of the marriage.

The Judgment addresses, among other things, the application of the shorthand of “unreasonable behaviour” as being incorrect. The correct interpretation should be the “unreasonableness of behaviour”.

The Judgment also refers to it not being necessary to establish a causal link between the unreasonableness of the behaviour and the breakdown of the marriage.

The Supreme Court further reiterates the lower Court’s application of the consideration of the cumulative effect upon the petitioner of all the respondent’s behaviour, and the application of an objective test to subjective examples of unreasonable behaviour.

In short, the likely advice to those wishing to commence their divorce petition following this Judgment would be to “beef up” the examples of unreasonableness of behaviour, whilst avoiding any attempt to exaggerate out of context and seriousness or overly flimsy allegations to a significant extent.

If you are thinking about starting your divorce process or wish to discuss how the above Judgment may affect you in your existing divorce process, why not call our team of divorce and separation experts. I am based in our Basildon office and can be reached on 01268 824938 or alternatively you can email me at muntech.kaur@birkettlong.co.uk.

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