Is there such a thing as a ‘good divorce’?

Many Resolution[1] family lawyers think so and this week is Resolution’s annual awareness-raising week

Minimising the impact of conflict on children:

Conflict can have some serious long-term effects on children. Studies have shown that it’s not the separation or divorce proper that has an impact, but rather the conflict stemming from it that often has a detrimental impact on their well-being.

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

Currently, unless you have been separated for 2 years with consent, or 5 years without, you have to divorce on the grounds of adultery or behaviour. In 2016, the majority (3/5th) of divorces in England and Wales were granted on adultery and behaviour.

Divorce is always difficult, but having to show fault can increase the conflict between the couple and make it more difficult to sort out child and financial arrangements.

Without wanting to trivialise it, Resolution refers to it as ‘the blame game,’ which can have serious consequences for the couple and any children they might have. Law reform is needed to remove blame from the process to reduce the negative impact of conflict on children.

Facts – Divorce in England and Wales:

  • 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)
  • 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 (Finding Fault 2017)
  • 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. (Finding Fault, 2017)
  • Fault is associated with shorter marriages, and evidence shows that fault enables a quick exit from a marriage. (Finding fault 2017)

What Resolution members think of current law (2018 Resolution survey):

  • 90% say current law makes it harder to reduce conflict between ex-partners.
  • 67% say the current law makes it harder for separated parents to reach agreements.
  • 80% feel the introduction of no fault divorce would help separating couples reach an agreement out of court.

[1] Resolution: First for Family Law www.resolution.org.uk

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. 

 

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Vanessa McMurtrie

Partner, Family

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then...

Partner, Family

Vanessa McMurtrie

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then worked for us on a part time consultancy basis while devoting more time to her family. During this period she was instrumental in implementing Hart Brown’s family department’s case management system and later, the quality system that led to the firm’s ISO 9001 accreditation.

In 2005 Vanessa returned to client work and joined Mackrell Turner Garrett where she stayed for ten years, before re-joining Hart Brown in 2015. Vanessa knows Woking and the surrounding area well and enhances the work covered at our Woking office as she re-joins the family department.

Vanessa has been a Resolution member since 1991, committed to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational and constructive way. She has served on the Surrey Resolution committee since 2008. She is a Resolution accredited collaboratively trained lawyer and welcomes the opportunity to help separating couples adopt this process as an alternative to the more traditional options available.

Over the years, Vanessa has gained a wealth of experience in dealing with all the legal aspects of relationships coming to an end. She prides herself on being approachable and understanding as she helps her clients go through the legal process.

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