In January 2016 a judge refused to allow the wife of a multimillionaire farmer to divorce her husband. The judge said that he could not accept that her husband’s “constant” beratement of her due to an affair was unreasonable behaviour and instead stated that it was to be “expected in marriage”.

The wife asked the Court of Appeal to overturn this decision as she felt “unloved, isolated and alone” and it was unreasonable to expect her to continue to be married to her husband. She also argued that it was unfair that a 65 year old wife must, under current law, separate from her husband and then wait five years before being allowed a divorce without his consent.

The Court of Appeal upheld the previous judgement with the President of the Family Division remarking “Parliament has decreed that it is not a ground for divorce that you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage, though some people may say it should be”.

This week the wife has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court whose decision will be awaited with interest by family lawyers particularly given the fact that the government has no current plans to change the law on divorce despite the continued lobbying for a no-fault divorce system to be introduced.

Blog by Jacquie Birkett, Barber & Co Family Law, Ramsbottom