four out of five people in the South East say children should
come first in divorce
- Survey reveals attitudes to separation and divorce as new
advice guide launched
- Two thirds of people in the region have a divorced family
- 43% assume divorce can never be without conflict
The overwhelming majority of people in the
South East believe that putting children’s interests first or
avoiding conflict are the most important factors if going through
divorce, according to a new survey from Resolution, the national
family law association.
Four out of five (81%) say that putting children’s interests
first would be their first or second most important consideration
in a divorce, and half (51%) would prioritise making the divorce as
conflict-free as possible.
Despite this, four-fifths of people (80%) believe that children
end up being the main casualties of divorce, and 43% believe that
conflict is inevitable in separation and divorce. Despite the
increasing availability of non-court alternatives, nearly half
(47%) think that most divorces involve a visit to court.
In stark contrast to some of the high-profile divorce cases in
recent years, financial factors are not seen as particularly
important, with only a small minority (2%) saying that being
financially better off than their partner would be the most
important consideration should they divorce.
The survey was conducted to mark Family Dispute Resolution Week,
starting today and being held to raise awareness of
non-confrontational methods of resolving family breakdown, such as
mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.
As part of the week, Resolution is launching a new advice guide,
’Separating Together: Your options for separation and divorce’,
designed to help separating couples understand and explore
non-court based methods of resolving issues arising on the
breakdown of a relationship.
an associate in Blake Lapthorn's Family team
in Southampton and Regional Press Officer for
Resolution in Hampshire, said: “These findings highlight how people
have good intentions to prioritise the well-being of children and
to avoid conflict during separation, but this can often be derailed
by a lack of knowledge of non-court based options and an exposure
to the adversarial nature of courts. Something is going very wrong,
and often the result is emotionally and financially drained
parents, and deeply distressed children.
“However, there is another way. We’ve launched this guide
because we want separating couples to know about
non-confrontational alternatives to court. These methods can help
prevent separation and divorce from being needlessly adversarial,
and often can benefit the whole family through fairer settlements
and by prioritising the interests of children.”
The survey results come at an important time
for family law in England and Wales. The most recent statistics
show a rise in divorce rates; and the family courts are facing the
Jane Longworth added: “The
courts are already struggling to cope, and are likely to be even
busier when the legal aid cuts take effect next year, with more
people trying to navigate the family justice system on their own as
a result. The system is under huge pressure, and couples who
use alternatives to court are much more likely to achieve swift,
Resolution is an association of 6,500 family
lawyers and professionals committed to taking conflict out of
family disputes. Resolution members abide by a code of practice
which encourages solutions based on the needs of the whole family,
and particularly the best interests of children.
ComRes interviewed 2018 British adults online
between 29-31 August 2012, including 303 people in the South East.
Results were weighted to be demographically representative of all
British adults. The results in the South East showed that:
- aside from ‘putting the children’s interests
first’ (81%), ‘ensuring that the divorce is as conflict-free as
possible’ (51%) is most likely to be seen as the most or second
most important factor to consider when going through a divorce
- only 4% of respondents believe that “ensuring I
am financially better off than my partner” was the most or
second-most important consideration
- 80% of respondents agreed with the statement
“Children are usually the main casualties in divorces.”
- 47% agreed with the statement “Most divorces
involve a visit to court.”
- 43% agreed with the statement “Divorces can
never be without conflict.”
- 89% say that they know someone close to them
who has been divorced
- two thirds (66%) say that a member of their
family (parents, children, grandparents or another close family
member) has been divorced.
Full national statistics are available on
ComRes is a member of the British
Polling Council and abides by its rules.
notes to editors
- Resolution promotes a
non-confrontational, constructive approach to resolving family
- Family Dispute Resolution Week is the national awareness
raising week designed to make the public aware of the alternatives
to court for separation and divorce. More
information on these alternatives, including mediation,
collaborative law, and arbitration, is available on the Resolution
- As part of the week, a new guide to dispute resolution has been
made available. Entitled
“Separating Together: Your options for separation and divorce”, it
is available online here.
- The guide includes contact details for other organisations
which can provide useful information around separation and divorce.
These include: Citizens Advice Bureaux; Family Lives; Fatherhood
Institute; Gingerbread; Money Advice Service; One Plus One; Only
Dads; Only Mums; and Relate.
- The week will culminate with Resolution’s annual conference for
Dispute Resolution practitioners, taking place in Oxford on 28
The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics
showed that the number of divorces in England and Wales in 2010 was
119,589, an increase of 4.9 per cent since 2009.