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Can being “old school” save your marriage?

17 Feb 2017

The perplexing case of the millionaire mushroom farmer may become a test case for “unreasonable behaviour”.

Following a 39 year marriage, an affair by the wife, and being separated for two years, the wife’s petition for unreasonable behaviour was refused. This was on the basis that the fact she was unhappily married was not, apparently, a reason for divorce. The husband was described as “old school” (whatever that means) in his attitude to the couple’s marriage, and the wife as “over sensitive”.

The wife appealed the decision, claiming amongst other things that her right to family life (and presumably to remarry) was affected by this decision.

The decision of the court of appeal is awaited with interest, because if dismissed, it could cause consternation or relief, depending on your point of view.

What is extraordinary is how this case got to where it is. Contested divorces are rare enough, and have been for some time. Divorce lawyers for a number of years have been sensitive in avoiding “blood ‘n’ guts” petitions. And courts have steered through the paradox of emphasising blame, in a procedure that requires, in the main, blame to be cast in one direction.

Will this lead to no fault divorce and a change in legislation? Maybe. But is it really worth it?

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