Fareham MP calls for overhaul of divorce law during House of Commons speech

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes
Fareham MP Suella Fernandes

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AN MP has called for the overhauling of the country’s ‘divorce’ laws.

Suella Fernandes, Fareham MP has backed the plight of 66-year-old Tini Owens, a woman who cannot end her ‘loveless and desperately unhappy’ marriage to a millionaire farmer.

Mrs Owens claims she was locked into the marriage by her husband Hugh, 78, and that he has berated her for an affair she had.

High Court judges refused to grant her a divorce as English law dictates that one of the parties must be at fault for the marriage to be formally ended.

Miss Fernandes said: ‘As last week’s Court of Appeal case of Owens depressingly highlighted, England’s fault-based divorce laws results in absurd outcomes.

‘Despite being in a loveless marriage, the petitioner was unable to divorce her husband because of the archaic rules requiring her to prove fault on his part.

‘The reality is that not all marriages end because of fault. We therefore have a law that promotes the farce of allocating blame, setting the parties on a needless confrontational path, fuelling animosity and costs.

‘A commission should report on whether it is now time for no fault divorce.’

Miss Fernandes was a barrister before she entered parliament in 2015.

Her comments came as she proposed a private member’s bill calling for tougher action to be taken against parents who do not let their former partners see their children.

It would establish a presumption in favour of shared parenting, which would stipulate that both parents must be allowed to establish a meaningful relationship with their children.

The Family Justice Bill will be read again on May 12.