I have received the following news release from Latimer Hinks:
Family law expert Judith Middleton, of Latimer Hinks Solicitors, today backed calls for divorce law reform in England and Wales after newly released statistics highlighted the flaws of a “blame centred” divorce process.
The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that behaviour and adultery were cited in the vast majority of divorces.
In 2008, of all decrees awarded to one partner (rather than jointly to both), 67 per cent were awarded to the wife. In more than half of the cases where the divorce was granted to the wife, the husband’s behaviour was the fact proven. Of the divorces granted to the husband, the most common fact proven was the wife’s behaviour (34 per cent of cases).
Resolution, the national family lawyers association, says that this is because couples cannot currently get a divorce without having to blame one another for unreasonable behaviour or adultery unless they wait for two years.
“Family break ups are a sad fact of modern life”, said Judith Middleton, a Partner at Latimer Hinks, who is also Resolution’s Tees Valley spokesperson.
“With one in three children experiencing the breakup of their parents’ relationship before their 16th birthday, it’s essential that conflict is kept to a minimum when families separate. But, as these figures show, the present system encourages mud-slinging and blame.
“At the moment couples not wanting to blame one another have to wait two years before they can get a divorce. But for many, waiting two years to sort out their finances rules out this option.”
Resolution is calling for a new system whereby couples can divorce on the grounds of “irretrievable breakdown” of their marriage with a maximum waiting period of six months.
Judith Middleton added: “We urgently need to replace this blame centred divorce process with a civilised process for a civilised society.”