Monday, January 04, 2016

"Divorce Day" should focus on finding solutions for separated families

Today (4 January) is what the media calls "Divorce Day", the day when enquiries about divorce to family lawyers are alleged to peak.

A poll of Resolution's family lawyer members taken at the outset of 2015 found that 82% did not report a spike in enquiries in the first week of January. However, we do know that there is a substantial increase in people searching for information online about family law and separation during January. This suggests that focus should be shifted from sensationalising "Divorce Day" to ensuring families have access to appropriate and balanced information about managing separation in a way that minimises conflict and the impact on children.

Jo Edwards, chair of Resolution, says:

"We do know that January is the time when online searches for information about divorce and separation reach their peak. The festive season can be difficult for many families, fraught as it is with expectations and obligations. Many may have already decided before Christmas that they wish to separate, but hold off doing so until the New Year for the sake of the family. But to dub today "Divorce Day" trivialises the very painful and difficult decisions couples make when they separate."

"In fact, 82% of Resolution members polled reported that they did not see any immediate spike in new cases or enquiries at the beginning of 2015, which suggests that most people are looking for information initially, rather than taking immediate action on 1 January."

"Many of these people may not go on to separate - some will benefit from counselling support such as that offered by Relate. For those that do separate, I would advise exploring a lower-conflict dispute resolution channel such as mediation, collaborative practice or arbitration, which can minimise the impact of separation on children and future relationships. If your New Year's resolution is to separate, there is a better way to do it."

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