“The divorce blame game”

“The divorce blame game”

Family lawyers across the country are campaigning for a change in the law to reduce the fallout from divorce on children, given the impact that conflict between separating parents can have.

Studies have shown that conflict arising from divorce or separation can severely impact a child’s mental health, their ability to form positive relationships and their academic performance moving forward.

Whilst children can be fairly resilient to change and the concept of separation or divorce, it is the conflict stemming from these life changing events that can often have a detrimental impact on their well-being.

Good Divorce Week is an initiative that is led by Resolution (an organisation of over 5,000 lawyers and family justice professionals, committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes). The aim of the initiative is to campaign for no-fault divorces which would remove blame from the divorce process and protect the long term well -being of the children involved.

The current divorce process does not allow for this and instead requires parties to rely on one of five factors to support the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Only two of the factors are non-fault based.  The most common factor being unreasonable behaviour which requires one party to have to provide details as to why the other party has effectively been a bad spouse. The current fault-based divorce system increases animosity and generally raises the temperature between the parties which can cause matters to become acrimonious and more costly.

The facts speak for themselves and are particularly enlightening as to the reality of the divorce arena in England and Wales:

  • There are over 100,000 divorces in England and Wales each year.
  • Behaviour is the most common Fact used for opposite-sex divorce (52%) and same-sex divorce (83% among women, 73% among men).
  • In 2015, 60% of divorces in England and Wales were granted on adultery and behaviour, compared with just 6-7% in Scotland where the law is different.
  • National opinion survey showed only 29% of respondents to a fault divorce said that the Fact used very closely matched the reason for the separation.
  • Fault is associated with shorter marriages, and evidence shows that fault enables a quick exit from a marriage.*

Removing the fault-based divorce process will enable parties to resolve their issues in a manner which provides a fair outcome to everyone in the family, especially the children and thus remove the element of conflict which can be so damaging to all involved.

Resolution members are committed to reducing conflict and agreeing to a non-confrontational way of working that puts the best interests of the children first.

If you would like any further information on the content of this article, or on divorce in general, please do not hesitate to contact Javita Malhotra on 01494 781358 or at jmm@blasermills.co.uk

*See Resolution’s fact sheet here for more facts and statistics on divorce.