Man divorced by wife after map-reading row loses appeal

Mark Howell admits arguing with his wife after they got lost in France, but says map dispute was 'brief'

LAST UPDATED AT 11:06 ON Tue 26 Feb 2013

A MAN whose wife divorced him after they lost their way on a driving holiday in France's wine region and argued over her map-reading skills, has lost a legal bid to save his marriage.

The row between Mark Howell, 60, and his former wife, Nalini, came after they got lost on a wine tasting trip in Burgundy in August 2011 and "formed the basis of her bid to divorce him", the Daily Telegraph reports. She was subsequently granted a decree nisi even though Judge Michael Horowitz confessed that he and his own wife also "argue about map-reading".

Howell, a property investor, appealed the decision in London's Civil Appeal Court. He admitted that he and his wife had had an argument in Burgundy over her ability to read a map, but said it lasted "only a matter of minutes". He said the row was an isolated incident rather than "one of many" as his wife had claimed at the original hearing.

Howell, from Kennington in south London, told the appeal court his 10-year marriage to the 51-year-old company director wasn’t over. "There was nothing on which the judge [Horowitz] could conclude that my wife could not be reasonably expected to live with me," he said. "I believe as I stand here that the marriage has not irretrievably broken down".

But Lord Justice Thorpe disagreed, refusing Howell permission to appeal the divorce and concluding that the marriage was over because Mrs Howell had "proved her case".

Judge Thorpe said: "It is sad, as it seems to me, that this couple have spent far more energy and wasted far more money than was ever necessary had there been a more realistic assessment of where they stood and how to bring their failed marriage to an end." · 

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A man who has to appeal to a judge to force his wife to continue living with him truly believes his marriage isn't irretrievably broken? Really? Sounds more like a control issue to me........

It's a pretty common trap arguing in a car about directions. Should have been a little more civil. And he is still arguing, it appears ... I agree with the woman below.

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