A husband in South Korea has been refused a divorce by their Supreme Court despite separating from his wife 15 years ago.

Under Korean law, limited provision can be made for a wife and children in terms of maintenance, so the court decided that to allow the divorce would leave the wife and children in financial difficulties.

It also took a very dim view of the husband's adultery and having a child with a woman to whom he was not married. It was only in February this year that adultery was decriminalised.

Such a refusal just wouldn't happen in the UK. In practice it is possible for any spouse to start divorce proceedings on the basis of unreasonable behaviour, unless they are married to a saint. But even then, their perfection could be cited as a behaviour that the petitioner found unreasonable, as the test is of course a subjective one.

We do have section 5 of the Matrimonial Causes Act which allows a Court to refuse a divorce if it would cause grave hardship. But, for this to be argued the divorce has to be based on 5 years separation, one of the two more rarely used facts. And even if this fact was cited, since the introduction of pension sharing in 2000, it is difficult to think of a circumstance in which grave hardship would be caused.