Divorce reform should be pushed through – for the sake of the children

A recent poll carried out by YouGov has highlighted the fact that people are keen for divorce reforms to be implemented, to reduce the impact that divorce under the current rules can have on many people, especially children.

Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters, has urged the Government to work on making the reforms to divorce laws as soon as possible.

The Government announced a consultation on reform divorce law in July 2018 and at the time, Justice Secretary David Gauke MP said, “we think the ‘blame game’ that currently exists helps no one. It creates unnecessary antagonism and anxiety at an already trying time for couples and in particular where there are children.”

Resolution, who commissioned the YouGov poll, agrees – the organisation has highlighted some of the findings and submitted a response to the Government consultation. The response was hand-delivered at the Ministry of Justice to Lucy Frazer MP, Family Justice Minister.

According to the poll,  79 per cent of people agree that the conflict which comes from divorce or separation can affect negatively children’s mental health. This figure rises to 87 per cent among those whose own parents divorced during their own childhood. 

77 per cent of people surveyed said that they believed conflict could affect a child’s academic performance and a further two-thirds felt  that an acrimonious separation between parents could affect a child’s social interactions and their ability to form healthy romantic relationships in the future.

Some people believe that changing the law to introduce a no-fault divorce system will undermine the value of marriage, and lead to an increase in divorce, but figures from Scotland, where no-fault divorce was made possible in 2006, suggest otherwise – no long-term increase in divorce rates have been seen since the changes to divorce law were introduced.

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said that the current system of forcing spouses to attribute blame for a divorce leads only to increased conflict and unnecessary confrontation. She added;

We have committed to scrapping this archaic rule as soon as possible, making the process less acrimonious and helping families look to the future. I am pleased so many important stakeholders support our reforms, including Resolution, and we welcome all feedback on our proposals.”

Nigel Shepherd, a former National Chair of Resolution and long-standing campaigner for no-fault divorce, said that family lawyers across the country back reform, the public support it, “and, we know from our correspondence with MPs and Peers of all parties, that there is little – if any – opposition in Parliament.”
The government consultation closes on 10 December 2018. For the consultation details, click here.

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