New poll shows political policies out of step with needs of families

News Release

12 Mar 2010

A new YouGov poll published today reveals just how out of step political parties are with the realities of family life and breakdown in modern Britain. The poll, released by family lawyers’ association Resolution ahead of its annual conference in Manchester, found that almost three quarters (72 percent) of people don’t think unhappily married couples should stay together because of the children, and over two-thirds (68 percent) believe that couples should be able to divorce without blaming each other.

The new figures come as Resolution is calling on the Government to introduce no-fault divorce and financial rights for cohabiting couples.

David Allison, new Chair of Resolution, said: “Family issues are dominating the election agenda with all parties developing and publishing policies aimed at the nation’s families. Sadly many of these policies miss the point, fail to engage with the realities of family life in the 21st century and leave many families out in the cold.

“If unhappy families aren’t going to stay together because of their children – they certainly won’t stay together because of a £10 tax break. Politicians need to stop using family life as a political football and engage instead with real solutions which support rather than judge families.”

The online YouGov poll also showed that 4 out of 5 (80 percent) people agree with the principle of financial support when a relationship ends, and almost three quarters (72 percent) of those who agreed with this principle believe that it should apply to couples in any relationship regardless of whether or not they are married.

“Despite the fact that cohabitation is the fastest growing family type in the UK, the present government has only paid lip service to the idea of supporting families of all shapes and sizes and did not support Lord Lester’s recent Cohabitation Bill. By passing up the opportunity to reform the law for cohabiting couples it has allowed discrimination to persist in family law,” David Allison said.

The YouGov poll surveyed 2104 adults across the Great Britain, key findings include:

  • 3 out of 4 people (75 percent) believe that marriages end irrespective of how hard or easy it is to get a divorce
  • 68 percent were in favour of no-fault divorce
  • Only 17 percent thought that unhappy couples should stay together for the sake of the children
  • 60 percent did not agree that making the divorce process harder would mean more people would stay married
  • 4 out of 5 people agree that where one partner may have given up their career to look after the family they should be entitled to financial support if the relationship ends. Almost three quarters of those (72 percent) believe that this should apply to couples in any relationship regardless of whether or not they are married
  • Almost 3 out of 5 (59 percent) agreed that strengthening legal rights for cohabiting couples would encourage people to take financial responsibility for each other.

Resolution, which represents over 5500 family lawyers, believes that couples must be able to divorce without blame after six months of separation and couples who live together must be given legal protection.

“Family break ups are a sad fact of modern life and the shape of the family has changed. Yet family law reform has been neglected”, said David Allison. “Any Government that is serious about building Britain’s future must change the law.”

Notes to Editors

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2104 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th February – 1st March 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

2. The YouGov poll, commissioned by the 5500 strong family lawyers association Resolution, asked over 2000 adults in the UK about a range of issues related to family breakdown, divorce and the status of cohabiting couples. Details of the YouGov findings can be accessed here.

3. Details of Resolution’s Changing Family Law for Changing Families Campaign can be found on the Resolution website at

4. Resolution is a group of over 5500 family lawyers in England and Wales. Established 25 years ago, it promotes a non-confrontational, constructive approach to resolving family disputes. To find out more, visit


For more information please contact:

Teresa Richardson, Resolution Head of Communications: 0203 195 0190/ 07894 981 020

Leonora Merry, Resolution Communications Officer: 0203 195 0191/ 07971 300 024