We welcome the appointment of Brandon Lewis as Secretary of State for Justice and look forward to working together to continue to reduce the strain on divorcing and separating couples.
The Secretary of State for Justice plays a crucial role in ensuring that couples are able to go their separate ways in the most agreeable, cooperative and effective manner.
The ‘no-fault’ divorce legislation introduced earlier this year was a clear step in the right direction. However, more progress is needed to ensure that couples can separate with minimal conflict and hostility.
We call upon the Secretary of State for Justice to:
- Triage couples and families with separation and co-parenting issues before they begin ‘legal proceedings’. If assessed properly and deemed safe, couples can be directed to other pathways to resolve their issues. This will save many from entering an already overburdened and adversarial family court system
- Invest in family support and information centres as they do in Australia. These provide independent advice to families on solving separation issues before a legal process is embarked upon
- Deliver on the review work to the gov.uk divorce portal so that the information it provides is clear, unambiguous and fulfils its stated aim of promoting a ‘citizen journey’, and keeps up with the changes in no-fault divorce laws
- Promote the full suite of alternatives to court, along with mediation. Negotiation services, apps, online dispute resolution programmes or arbitration should also be signposted and explained to couples. These can have far higher success rates than court or mediation, and save families time, cost and trauma.”