Good Divorce Week – lawyers align with Resolution to call for a fairer family justice system
This week marks Good Divorce Week 2018, a national campaign designed to raise awareness of how separating parents can minimise the impact of conflict on their children and calling for government to reform the divorce process by remove the element of blame. Backed by Resolution, formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association, the campaign for no-fault divorce also promotes the work of family law professionals in highlighting ways for separating parents to put their children’s needs first.
It is really important that as local family lawyers we do everything we can to reduce conflict in divorce and separation – introducing a no-fault divorce system would enable early discussions between separating parents to get started on the right footing.
According to a new YouGov poll commissioned by Resolution, children are harmed as a result of conflict in divorce proceedings and, as a family law professional, I support anything that will help minimise conflict.
The current divorce system requires the applicant party to rely on one of five criteria to establish they have valid grounds for a divorce. The list includes adultery, desertion, unreasonable behaviour, a two-year separation with consent, or a five-year separation. More than 200,000 divorce petitions are issued in England and Wales each year.
Although about 60 per cent of these divorces are fault-based, 29 per cent of respondents to Resolution’s YouGov poll said the fact relied upon in the divorce petition had no relevance to the actual breakdown of the marriage. The survey also showed 67 per cent of family lawyers reported that having to rely on a fault-based petition made it much more difficult to reach amicable settlements on other matters, while 80 per cent felt that no-fault divorce would assist in helping reach out-of-court settlements.
A large number of 14-22 year-olds polled in 2014 reported an impact on their examination results, getting into trouble, and experimenting with drugs or alcohol; 32 per cent reported that one parent had tried to turn them against the other, and one in four claimed at least one parent had tried to involve them in the dispute.
If we can remove the concept of fault and just look at constructive approaches to finding solutions, hopefully the divorce and separation process will be improved for all parties, and children will have more positive outcomes.
Family Law, General, George Ide, News