IT consultant launches High Court legal action to overturn England’s ‘easy’ divorce laws saying his ex breached his human rights by splitting from him because he worked too much and didn’t go on family holidays
- Charles Ayeh-Kumi, 64, from Hampshire, is mounting legal action at High Court
- IT consultant wants to challenge what he says are England’s ‘easy’ divorce laws
- Ex-wife divorced him in 2018 and cited ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in documents
An IT consultant is launching legal action at the High Court after claiming his human rights were breached when his ex-wife was able to divorce him because he ‘worked too much and never went on holiday.’
Charles Ayeh-Kumi, 64, from Farnborough, Hampshire, is mounting the legal action later this month to challenge what he says are England’s ‘easy’ divorce laws.
The father-of-two, who has no legal training, began examining the legislation after his ex-wife Marion divorced him in 2018 – two years after saying she wanted a separation.
Mr Ayeh-Kumi, who has two daughters with his ex-partner, said she cited ‘unreasonable behaviour’ and claimed he ‘worked too much’ and ‘didn’t go on holiday’ with her and their two girls.
However he claims the use of the term ‘unreasonable behaviour’ as grounds for divorce in English courts is too vague as it is not defined in law, thereby making separation too easy.
Charles Ayeh-Kumi, 64, from Farnborough, Hampshire, (right with his ex-wife Marion), is challenging what he says are England’s ‘easy’ divorce laws
He also wants to push for a repeal of ‘no fault’ divorce legislation which is due to come into effect next Autumn, which he says will make separation even easier.
The IT consultant is claiming that the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 breaches the Rule of Law, the Humans Right Act as well as the European Convention for Human Rights.
He wants it changed so that ‘unreasonable behaviour’ is defined in law, and so that couples are given the ability to make a joint divorce application, rather than one party serving it against another.
But Mr Ayeh-Kumi must appear virtually before the High Court on December 16 to defend his crowdfunded case – as the court make an application to throw the case out.
In a statement submitted by Mr Ayeh-Kumi’s former wife during divorce proceedings, she wrote: ‘My husband was absent from the home in the evenings and at weekends.
‘[He] did not come on any family holidays when the children were growing up or come to any concert performances that the children took part in.’
But Mr Ayeh-Kumi insisted that throughout their marriage there was no abuse, physical or otherwise, and that they were equal partners who made joint decisions.
The father also claims that his ex-wife was referring to holidays from more than 20 years ago – at a time when the couple were struggling to pay their mortgage.
He said: ‘I am a one-man band. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.
‘I admit that I missed a few family holidays, and that I made myself available to clients 24/7, over the weekends and late at night.
‘That is how I differentiate myself from the bigger companies that do what I do, and how I secure myself more clients.
‘We were struggling to pay our mortgage at the time. I needed to keep a roof over my wife and daughters’ heads.’
The IT consultant began examining the legislation after his ex-wife divorced him in 2018 and cited ‘unreasonable behaviour’
He claims that there was no indication that Marion was planning to leave him before the day, on her 60th birthday five years ago, she announced that she wanted to separate.
He said the lack of ‘justification’ regarding ‘unreasonable behaviour’ breaches the Rule of Law, which states that every law should be defined and have boundaries.
He also claims that his human rights are being breached, as he is being asked to divulge his personal financial information as part of the divorce financial settlement – which can then be published online by the court.
After failing to save his 33-year marriage, Mr Ayeh-Kumi has now set his sights on changing the UK’s divorce law and repeal the no-fault legislation which is due to come into force next year.
The 64-year-old, who has been estranged from his ex-wife and daughters for four years, said: ‘The quickest way to get a divorce is to cite unreasonable behaviour – something that isn’t defined by the current law.
‘It is left down to the discretion of judges entirely, and that lack of a definition isn’t right.
‘Some divorce lawyers say that your husband not putting down the toilet seat or arguing about map reading could qualify.
‘It breaches the Rule of Law, and it’s against the Human Rights Act which the Lord Chancellor has a duty to uphold.’
He added that he agrees divorce should be available in situations where there is domestic abuse or infidelity.
But he said that there must be a set of properly-defined reasons for a marriage to be dissolved – which there currently is not.
He added that the divorce system currently pushes couples into going through with a divorce – and that as many as 50 per cent of couples considering it end up going through with it, even if they are not sure.
He said: ‘For the other 50 per cent we should have a system in place that helps them work through their difficulties – not a system that helps push them through that divorce.’
The father-of-three claims that the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 breaks the principle of the Rule of Law and the Humans Right Act
But Mr Ayeh-Kumi argued that the new ‘no-fault’ divorce legislation under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill which will come into effect next year is just as ‘ridiculous’.
He said that the Bill states that judges must accept without question any divorce application made.
He said: ‘It will essentially force judges, who are meant to be impartial and unbiased, to take sides. It sweeps away Magna Carta. I have no idea how this has got through government.’
Mr Ayeh-Kumi wants the law changed to allow joint applications, protection for couples to try and resolve their differences and ‘meal ticket’ financial settlements to end.
He said: ‘The law currently is completely open ended in terms of financial settlement – it has to stop.
‘It is completely biased against men – if the man has a new partner, their joint incomes are taken into consideration when judging his ability to pay his ex.
‘However if the female gets another partner – the new partner’s income is not taken into consideration in terms of support.
‘Marion is applying for me to pay her maintenance until I die and beyond the grave if she outlives me.
‘Part of the law allows her to claim from my estate if I die. This is now up to the court to decide, I have no rights in this respect.
‘Not being able to dispose of my estate how I wish I believe breaches my article 8 human rights.’
Mr Ayeh-Kumi says that these two clauses (23 and 25) of the Matrimonial Clauses Act, relating to financial settlement, breach the Rule of Law – as they do not give any boundaries.
He said: ‘Those sections state that the judiciary can do ‘whatever they feel is fit in the circumstance’.
‘That in itself is against the Rule of Law in that it gives each individual judge complete carte blanche to decide how a case should go.
‘You can’t have a fair trial unless the law is clearly defined.’
Mr Ayeh-Kumi also added that ‘hardly a day goes by’ where he does not think about his two daughters and his two grandchildren – one of whom he has never met.
He said: ‘It has been a nightmare few years. It just is not fair.’
Mr Ayeh-Kumi’s ex-wife Marion said she did not wish to comment on what she considers to be a ‘private matter’.
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