26 November sees the start of Resolution (First for Family Law) annual awareness-raising week and this year the focus is on helping our clients experience a good divorce and focusing on achieving positive outcomes for them and their families and to minimise stress at an already difficult time for all concerned.

The probable perception of a divorce lawyer is a fat cat lawyer who profits from other people’s distress. At Harney and Wells we very much believe that going to Court is a last resort and that it is far more effective for family disputes to be resolved by agreement. Our lawyers are members of Resolution and are committed to helping you divorce/dissolve your civil partnership with dignity and in an amicable way.

The current law states that you must prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down before you can obtain a divorce. The break down of the marriage must be evidence by one of five facts…

  1. adultery
  2. behaviour
  3. desertion
  4. two years separation with consent
  5. five years separation

Resolution have prepared some key facts and figures, which are set out below regarding the impact of divorce on children and families. It is well known that conflict can have some serious long-term effects on children. Studies have shown that it is 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.

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.  71% of the population agrees that no fault divorce is urgently needed to protect the long-term interests of 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.

What young people (14-22 year olds) think (2015 ComRes survey)

  • Of those who have experienced family breakups, 82% would prefer their parents to part if they are unhappy.
  • More than 60% felt their parents had not ensured they were part of the decision-making process in their separation or divorce.
  • Half of young people indicated they did not have any say as to which parent they would live with or where they would live.
  • 88% agreed it was important to make sure children do not feel like they have to choose between parents.
  • About half admitted not understanding what was happening during their parents’ separation or divorce, while 19% agreed that they sometimes felt like it was their fault.

Resolution’s research suggested that many parents handle their separations well: 50% of young people agreed that their parents put their needs first.

How divorce and separation affects young people (14-22 year olds) (2014 ComRes survey)

  • 19% said they didn’t get the exam results they were hoping for. 
  • The majority (65%) say that their GCSE exam results were affected while 44% say A-levels suffered.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) said that they struggled to complete homework, essays or assignments.
  • More than one in 10 (11%) said they found themselves “getting into more trouble at school, college or university,” with 12% confessing to skipping lessons.
  • 14% of the young people surveyed said they started drinking alcoholor drinking more alcohol than previously, while almost three in ten (28%) said that they started eating more or less than previously.
  • 13% admitted to experimenting, or thinking about experimenting with drugs as a result of their parents’ break-up. 
  • 32% of respondents said one parent tried to turn them against the other.
  • More than 1 in 4 (27%) said their parents tried to involve them in their dispute.
  • Almost 1 in 5 (19%) saying that they completely lost contact with one or more grandparents.

If you visit our website at https://www.harneywells.co.uk/information-resources/ you will find lots of information sheets about the services we offer and our alternate dispute resolution services.

We offer a free assessment meeting if you are interested in our mediation service.We also offer an initial one-hour consultation at £100.00 plus VAT to advise you about the applicable law and possible outcomes, the various ways your case could be funded and provide an estimate of the costs involved.  This includes a letter to you to confirm the advice given during the appointment.