Woman in Valentine's Day fight to overturn ruling she cannot divorce husband

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A 65-year-old woman who wants to divorce her husband of nearly 40 years is staging an "extraordinarily unusual" Valentine's Day court fight.

Tini Owens has failed to persuade a family court judge to allow her to divorce husband Hugh Owens, 78.

Judge Robin Tolson, who hears cases in Oxford, refused to grant Mrs Owens' divorce petition in a ruling made last year.

Now Mrs Owens wants Court of Appeal judges to overturn that decision.

Three appeal judges are analysing the case at a hearing in London.

A barrister representing Mrs Owens told the appeal court on Tuesday the "vast majority" of divorces were undefended in 21st Century England.

Philip Marshall QC added: "It is extraordinarily unusual in modern times for a court to dismiss a petition for divorce."

Appeal judges were told the couple had married in 1978 and had lived near Worcester.

Mr Marshall said Mrs Owens' case was that her husband had behaved unreasonably and that the marriage had irretrievably broken down,

Mr Owens disagreed and denied allegations made against him.

He was against divorce and said they still had a "few years" to enjoy, Mr Marshall told appeal judges.

Judge Tolson had ruled against Mrs Owens, concluding that her allegations were "of the kind to be expected in marriage" and refused to grant her petition.

Mr Marshall said Judge Tolson had failed to make "proper findings of fact" and argued that his ruling should be overturned.

He indicated that Mr and Mrs Owens were jointly involved in business ventures and owned property in Britain and Holland.

The hearing continues.