Let’s end fault-based divorce system now | Letters

Legal practitioners and charities help parents find solutions, but are hampered by the current system, write a range of professionals in the field

The government’s consultation process on how to reform the divorce

The government’s consultation process on how to reform the divorce system ends on 10 December. It is imperative that the best interests of children are kept at the heart of any decision. A new YouGov poll commissioned by Resolution shows 79% of the population believe conflict from divorce or separation can negatively affect children’s mental health, with this number rising to 87% among those who experienced their own parents’ or step-parents’ divorce during childhood. At an emotionally traumatic time such as divorce or separation, parents want and need support in order to put the best interests of their children first. Legal practitioners and charities help parents find solutions, but are hampered by the current fault-based divorce system. Apportioning blame can cause unnecessary acrimony – it is this conflict which can often have a significant negative impact on children.

Seventy-one per cent of the population side with professionals and politicians, agreeing that no fault divorce is urgently needed to protect the long-term interests of children. We now know the government supports it, so we urge it to bring forward legislation as soon as possible. Every day that goes by without change risks hundreds of children caught up in unnecessary conflict. For their sake, ministers need to take urgent action to end the blame game.
Margaret HeathcoteNational chair, Resolution,Deirdre Fottrell, Noel ArnoldCo-chairs, Association of Lawyers for Children,Philip SherwoodPresident, CILEx,Frances Judd Chair, Family Law Bar Association,Rosie FergusonChief executive, Gingerbread,Julie Bishop Director, Law Centres Network,Christina BlacklawsPresident, Law Society of England and Wales,Steve Hynes Director, Legal Action Group, Jane RobeyCEO, National Family Mediation,Rebecca GiraudDirector, OnlyMums,Bob GriegDirector, OnlyDads,Aidan JonesCEO, Relate,Emma ThomasChief executive, YoungMinds

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