Monday, February 25, 2008

Not Our Business

The latest Grant Thornton survey of "100 leading divorce lawyers in England and Wales" reveals that increasing numbers of people are divorcing because of "mid-life crisis", according to a report in the Guardian today. Extramarital affairs were once again the most common cause of marriage breakdown but, as Mark Harper of Withers pointed out it can be difficult to distinguish between divorces caused by affairs and those caused a mid-life crisis: "They have affairs because they're having a mid-life crisis. How do you distinguish the two?". After extramarital affairs and mid-life crises "family strains" were the third most common cause of marriage breakdown.

All of this may be of interest to sociologists and others, but I've always felt that it should not be the business of family law to pry into the reasons for marriage breakdown or to apportion blame, unless it involves extreme behaviour, or has a bearing upon arrangements for children. Unfortunately, our current divorce system requires one party to blame the other entirely for the breakdown, unless the parties have been separated for two years, but this is usually an over-simplification, as Mark Harper suggests. Adultery is often a symptom of underlying problems within the marriage, and unreasonable behaviour by one party is often matched by equally unreasonable behaviour by the other party. If we bring in a completely no-fault divorce system then we can leave it to the sociologists to work out the true reasons for marriage breakdown, and let the lawyers get on with the job of sorting out arrangements for children and finances, in a blame-free environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. Constructive comments are always welcome, even if they do not coincide with my views! Please note, however, that comments will be removed or not published if I consider that:
* They are not relevant to the subject of this post; or
* They are (or are possibly) defamatory; or
* They breach court reporting rules; or
* They contain derogatory, abusive or threatening language; or
* They contain 'spam' advertisements (including links to any commercial websites).
Please also note that I am unable to give advice.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.