The statistics from a survey recently conducted by Resolution (a group of family justice professionals) make for sober reading.
- A quarter of parents said their children had suffered from depression due to family breakdown;
- During the last 12 months the highest ever number of private law children applications (90,000) was recorded in England and Wales;
- Two thirds of separated parents said they lacked help and advice about how to put their children first when they separated; and
- One third of respondents found it harder to keep contact arrangements in place during the pandemic.
With this in mind, this year's 'Good Divorce Week' which runs from 29 November-3 December 2021 has as its theme the need to put children first during family breakdown. The Guide to "Parenting Through Separation" (Parenting-through-separation-guide.pdf (resolution.org.uk)) is being promoted to assist and better inform parents. The Guide is an excellent aid; it talks through the wide variety of difficult situations that might arise for both adults and children following family breakdown, the emotions associated and how to address them. It offers plentiful advice and further ways of seeking more specific help in different situations.
In supporting the aim of a "Good Divorce" it is also important to consider, for example, the alternatives to resolving conflict in the courts and to give careful consideration to alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration. By instructing Resolution practitioners who subscribe to the Resolution Code of Conduct, individuals can also hope to reduce conflict and consequently costs as well as preserving the best possible ongoing relationship for co-parenting.
Family breakdown will always have a significant impact on children and parents. However, with the introduction of 'no fault' divorce in early 2022 and a refocussing of attention on the needs of children during the process, it is to be hoped that the impact can be minimised and managed as well as possible.
Two thirds of separated parents surveyed ahead of this year’s Good Divorce Week (29 Nov – 3 Dec) said they lacked help or advice about how to put their children first when they split from their partner.