There is “patchy understanding” and “ill-founded scepticism” about alternatives to going to court during break-ups according to a new poll commissioned by family law body Resolution.
The survey, which was conducted by ComRes, found that only half of people surveyed (51%) say they would consider trying a non-court-based solution instead of going court if they were to divorce in the future.
It also found evidence of ill-founded scepticism about the legality of non-court solutions, with just 23% of British adults believing that non-court based methods of divorce and separation “make the terms of the separation clear to both parties”.
According to Resolution, the problem has been made worse by a reduced availability of legal aid. Statistics compiled by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) published in September 2013 show that the number of couples attending out-of-court sessions to resolve family disputes since cuts to legal aid were introduced in April 2013 have already fallen by nearly 40%. Between May and September 2012, there were 5,983 publicly-funded mediation cases started – in the equivalent period in 2013, after the cuts, there were 3,651 – a drop of 39%.
However, despite scepticism about non-court based solutions the polling found that half (50%) of respondents agreed that these methods of divorce and separation are better for the wellbeing of children. Of those British adults who say that they have ever been separated or divorced, the polling finds that more than two-fifths (44%) say there were children in the household when the break-up occurred.
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