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UK woman awaits Court of Appeal decision on previously-refused divorce petition

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A 65-year-old woman “locked in” to an unhappy marriage fears that a Court of Appeal Judge may choose to uphold a previous decision to reject her petition to divorce.

Mrs Tini Owens had her divorce petition refused last year by Judge Robin Tolson QC of the Family Court, following an “extraordinarily unusual” legal battle.

She claimed that she suffered “continued beratement” in her unhappy marriage to 78-year-old Hugh Owens, but Judge Robin Tolson ruled that her husband’s behaviour had not been unreasonable.

Mr Owens, a man who has made millions from a mushroom-growing business, insisted that he had forgiven his wife for a case of alleged infidelity five years ago, and that he wanted them to remain married.

However, taking her case to the Court of Appeal this month, the disgruntled wife told an Appeals Court Judge that she felt unloved, isolated and alone in the relationship.

Three Judges, including the president of the family division, Sir James Mumby, heard evidence last week and are expected to announce their decision in coming days.

If the Appeals Court upholds the previous judgement, the Owens will remain married under English law, and Mrs Owens may have to wait as long as five years before she is able to divorce without her husband’s consent.