Family lawyers call for radical overhaul of divorce laws

21 Mar 2009

At its national conference in Bristol, Resolution, the organisation representing 5,500 family lawyers, today called on the government to help take the blame out of divorce and separation by introducing no-fault divorce.

“Under current law anyone not wanting to wait two years or more for a divorce has to prove ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or adultery on the part of their husband and wife. This ‘blame culture’ of unreasonable behaviour introduces a degree of discord and unpleasantness into divorce proceedings from the beginning,” said Nicholas Longford, who was newly elected as Chair of Resolution at the conference.

Nicholas Longford also highlighted the lack of clarity surrounding financial arrangements on divorce: “a number of high profile and sometimes contradictory judgements around financial settlements, has introduced a large degree of ambiguity into what divorcing couples can expect to pay and receive. This ambiguity means that there is much for divorcing couples to argue for.

“If the government is serious about promoting amicable settlements through mediation and streamlined courts, it should commit to undertaking a thorough review of family law so that couples can be clearer from the outset about how their finances will be divided.”

From Resolution’s inception twenty six years ago its members have pioneered a non-adversarial approach to family law. Resolution’s members undertake to abide by a code of practice which promotes a constructive approach to family law aimed at minimising conflict.

“The government have asked the Law Commission to review the law relating to pre-nuptial agreements. Whilst this is a very welcome move, the question must be ‘why stop there’. Ultimately there is an urgent need for the government to ensure that family law is brought up to date with the needs of 21st century families, nothing less than a radical overhaul is needed,” said Nicholas Longford.


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Leonora Merry
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