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The divorce process is broken

Something is very wrong. Despite relationship breakdown being at the heart of many of our social problems, the judicial system we use to finalise arrangements for children and formally end marriages and civil partnerships makes things worse. The nature of the system stokes damaging conflict and fails to support people during one of the hardest life experiences a person can face.

“the legal process encouraged what could have been a straightforward separation to become a long and confrontational dispute over a period of 2 years with lasting effects on our family relationships and our ability to co-parent well.” Parent of two and participant on the Restored Lives Course

A better process would reduce the massive human cost and that is what Restored Lives is campaigning for.

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

Relationship breakdown becomes a vicious cycle

The latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics and the marriage foundation show that 42% of marriages end in divorce. This means that a child born today has a 1 in 3 chance of not living with both parents by the age of 15 and over the last 10 years, 2.8m children have been impacted by their parents separating.

In an ideal world, the rifts in marriages could be repaired and there is huge merit in incentives and marriage support courses, but we mustn’t ignore those for whom relationships will never be repaired.

What needs to change?

  • – The current legal process is inherently confrontational, positioning each couple against each other with opposing legal counsel which sparks and fuels conflict.
  • – Couples don’t know what to expect so many waste time, energy and money because their expectations are wildly unrealistic.
  • – Parents fight for their “rights” rather than focus on the best way to co-parent whilst children are rarely given a voice in the process.
  • – Separation affects every aspect of a person’s life and the current process fails to provide adequate holistic support for adults and children affected.
  • – The financial cost of separation and divorce is excessive, costing over £5,000 on average for an uncontested divorce. Many simply cannot afford legal support they need resulting in a lack of a fair outcome for many.
  • – Despite the estimated annual costs of £50bn a year to the UK Government there is no co-ordinated approach, policy or provision for separating and divorcing couples.

What are we campaigning for?

  1. We are calling for a process that encourages communications between a couple and creates a positive structure for resolving issues successfully.
  2. We want experts to create a framework that makes it clear from the outset what a fair separation looks like both in terms of finances, property and arrangements for children so that everyone enters into the process with realistic expectations.
  3. Arrangements for children need to be resolved outside the court system in a timely manner. The needs of children must be at the heart of this process and parents being supported to reduce damaging parental conflict and build amicable and successful co-parenting arrangements.
  4. The creation of a co-ordinated support network including therapists, parenting specialists, mediators and legal services that includes addressing the emotional wellbeing of separating couples and their children.
  5. A cost-effective process for resolving legal matters relating to divorce and arrangements for children that is easily accessible to all.
  6. A coordinated Government approach starting with the appointment of a Family Lead at the heart of Government who will investigate all the issues and form a coordinated response.

Supporting a better divorce process won’t increase divorces

Some people believe that making divorce “easier” will increase the number of divorces and therefore impact marriages. Restored Lives, like anyone who has had the misfortune to experience it, does not want more divorce (we hate it as much as anyone else), but our work increases the ability of a couple to work together and therefore results in the reconciliation of some marriages.

BUT… the decision to separate is made independently of the process of divorce. In fact, people rarely realise the deeply painful process that is ahead of them nor that the current system increases conflict and therefore extinguishes any ember of hope for reconciliation.

Sign up today

Relationship breakdown is at the heart of so many social issues in large part because the current process increases conflict, lengthens the process, is excessively costly and leaves individuals and their children largely unsupported. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Sign up now to stop the life-changing negative effects of the current process of relationship breakdown which would help millions of people.


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Photo by Charles Deluvio