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Husband claims wife lacks “mental capacity” for divorce

The Court of Appeal has rejected an assertion by a chartered accountant that his wife must be “mad” to divorce him and refused his request to conduct psychiatric tests on her.

9 May 2012

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Lady Justice Black found yesterday (8 May 2012) that Niki Savva showed no signs of being mentally ill and ruled instead that Savva’s husband Peter was simply struggling to accept that the marriage was over, according to a report in the Telegraph.

Niki Savva, who has been married to her husband for 34 years, last year lodged a divorce petition at Barnet County Court. A preliminary order to dissolve the marriage was granted on the grounds that it had “irretrievably broken down”.

However, Peter Savva took the case to the Court of Appeal saying that his wife must be mentally unstable to want to leave him. “My wife has suffered a breakdown… she must be ill otherwise she wouldn’t have said these things… she’s confused,” Savva said.

“I consider that my wife lacks proper mental capacity to give instructions to her solicitors,” he told the court.

But Lady Justice Black denied the appeal. “The wife did not come across as in any way unwell or in need of psychiatric assistance. It was in fact the husband who was struggling to come to terms with the facts about the marriage,” she said.

Speaking outside court, Mr Savva said that he would now seek a judicial review of the laws governing the process of divorce. “Once the process of divorce starts it is very difficult to stop,” Savva said. “It is a shame that the system will destroy a marriage for a silly reason.”

He added: “Irretrievable breakdown is very subjective. One judge in court on one day can make a decision which can relate to half of somebody’s life and will cause irreparable damage to the parties. It affects society.”

For the Telegraph’s full report see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9252538/Husband-tel...

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