Supreme Court judges 'uneasy' about divorce decision

The dismissal of the appeal in the Owens v Owens divorce case has reignited calls for government action to update divorce laws.

Supreme Court judges ‘uneasy’ about divorce decision

The Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in the long-running divorce case of Owens v Owens, in which Mr Owens is contesting Mrs Owens divorce petition. Under current divorce law, the only route to obtain a divorce where the petition is contested is five years’ separation.

While contested divorces are a fraction of the total number of divorces, the case has shone a light on divorce laws that are widely seen to be outdated and unnecessarily confrontational.

Refusing Mrs Owens’ appeal, the judges have agreed that the case ‘generates uneasy feelings’, with Lady Hale stating that the case is ‘very troubling’. Nevertheless, the judges were unable to come to a different judgment under divorce laws as they currently stand.

The decision has received widespread coverage – such as this from BBC News – with calls for urgent reform of divorce law from commentators as wide-ranging as the Daily Mail, this column from Suzanne Moore in The Guardian, and the New Statesman.

Politicians are said to be ‘ready to support reform’ following the judgment.

For any advice on divorce and separation, please contact a member of our Family Law team.