This week is ‘Good Divorce Week’, which is a campaign run by Resolution focussing on minimising conflict during a divorce and putting children’s needs first. Resolution is the national organisation for family lawyers, committed to a non-confrontational approach to family problems.
At present, divorce law in England and Wales says unless you have been separated for 2 years with consent, or 5 years without, you have to divorce on the grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Divorce is always difficult but having to show fault can increase the conflict between couples and make it more difficult to sort out child and financial arrangements.
Resolution call this ‘the blame game,’ which can have very serious consequences for the couple and any children they might have. Urgent reform is needed to remove blame from the process to reduce the negative impact of conflict on children.
- There are over 100,000 divorces in England and Wales each year. (ONS 2018)
- Behaviour is the most common fact used for opposite-sex divorce (52%) and same-sex divorce (83% among women, 73% among men). (ONS 2018)
- 90% of Resolution members believe the current law makes it harder to reduce conflict between ex-partners. (2018 Resolution survey)
- Of those children who have experienced family breakups, 82% would prefer their parents to part if they are unhappy. (2015 ComRes survey)
- 88% of children agreed it was important to make sure children do not feel like they have to choose between parents. (2015 ComRes survey)
- The majority of young people aged 14 to 22 (65%) say that their GCSE exam results were affected by their parents’ divorce or separation, while 44% say their A-levels suffered. (2014 ComRes survey)
There have been calls for some time for a reform in the current divorce laws to introduce ‘no fault divorce’, which would remove the need for blame on the part of one party. It would allow couples to separate simply because their relationship hadn’t worked out.
These proposals for ‘no fault divorce’ have now been taken on board by the Government after extensive campaigning by Resolution and the concept is now at the early consultation stage.
To reduce conflict during separation before any changes are made to the law, couples can choose a collaborative approach to deal with family problems. At Ben Hoare Bell, our family lawyers are also members of Resolution and committed to minimising conflict at such a stressful time. We have experience and specific training in Collaborative Family Law so if you are dealing with relationship breakdown and need advice, please contact a member of our family team on 0191 275 2626 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog by Molly Foster, Family Solicitor