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Can you divorce if your partner does not want to?

3rd April 2017

A recent case had hit the headlines which will affect everyone when drafting a petition for divorce – The case is Owen -v- Owen.

Mr and Mrs Owen had been married for many years and had two grown up children.  Mrs Owen considered the marriage had irretrievably broken down due to Mr Owen’s unreasonable behaviour towards her and instructed her Solicitors to file for divorce.  Her Solicitors drafted the petition in accordance with guidelines designed to “take the heat” out of the situation.

The petition was sent to Mr Owens for him to agree but he did not respond so it was lodged in any event.  Mr Owens decided to defend the petition and the matter was listed for a hearing.

The Judge found that the petition was not proven.  This was confirmed by the Court of Appeal which took the view that the allegations in the petition were examples of “rough and tumble“ of marriage and did not show unreasonable behaviour.

It is clear from this case that whenever a petition is drafted it must be done on the basis that the allegations can be proven to be unreasonable.  This ensures that if the petition is defended the allegations will be accepted by the court. The Owen case shows that drafting a petition is not by any means an easy document that just anyone can complete.

My advice is that you instruct a specialist matrimonial Solicitor who is an expert in this field to ensure your petition is drafted in a way that will be acceptable to the court so that your divorce goes ahead without delay and without extra, unnecessary, costs.