Last week, Resolution – a UK organisation that campaigns for improvements to the family justice system – were raising awareness for divorcing parents and how best to minimise the impact of conflict on their children, calling on government to reform the fault-based divorce system.
The Resolution campaign highlights that current divorce laws put additional pressures on children by making them think that one parent is more to blame than the other. One of the ways Resolution are attempting to tackle this is by getting more people involved in supporting the divorce reform in England and Wales. With many believing the current laws are now outdated – having not changed in nearly 50 years – Resolution are encouraging people to respond to the government consultation ‘Reducing family conflict – reform of the legal requirements for divorce’.
The consultation, which ends on the 10th December, proposes a shift from focussing on blame and recrimination to supporting adults to concentrate on making arrangements for both their own and their children’s future. The main objectives of the reform include:
A study by the Nuffield Foundation ‘Finding Fault?’ found that 60% of divorces in England and Wales were issued on a fault-based ground (adultery and behaviour), compared with only 6-7% fault divorces in Scotland. The reason for such a high level of fault stems from the fact that fault-based divorces can be instigated immediately, avoiding the wait for separation periods of two or five years before it can be put through. Placing blame on your ex-partner, however, can cause further stress and upset to any children involved.
During the divorce process, parents are likely to worry about their child’s feelings, where the child will stay, how often they will see each their child, and whether they will be able to maintain a meaningful relationship. Divorce can be an extremely confusing and unsettling time for children. A group of 14-22 year olds with divorced parents were asked how they felt and dealt with the experience. 82% of respondents would prefer their parents to separate if they are unhappy and yet 60% felt their parents did not include their thoughts in the decision-making process of their divorce. A staggering 88% believed it was important to make sure that children do not feel like they have to choose between parents. Sadly, the survey also reported that 19% of the respondents felt like their parents’ divorce was their fault. With more than 100,000 divorces happening in England and Wales each year, it is crucial that children of divorce are put at the forefront of every decision and do not feel responsible for the relationship breakdown.
No two divorces are the same, however a critical component to every successful divorce is communication. Make sure that at each point of the process, you are communicating with the other party to discuss the best way forward regarding decisions such as financial support and child maintenance. Avoid at all costs any confrontation, especially in front of your children. If you and your partner are unable to sit down and discuss matters, get the help of a legal professional who can make sure any discussions are happening constructively.
For more information on the Good Divorce Week campaign, click here.
I have years of experience in helping clients from a wide range of backgrounds to get the divorce they need. I fully appreciate how important your children are to you, and the emotional difficulty that comes with making arrangements for children in divorce. To discuss your case with me, do not delay and contact me today via the online enquiry form.