Change from fault-based divorce is good for families and society
It may sound like a paradox but today’s news that the laws for divorce are being changed and moving away from a fault-based system is a very good thing for families and society as a whole.
The current system is a confrontational process that pits families against each other. The notion of blame and the idea of “winning” and “losing” heap more damage and hurt onto an already painful situation.
At the point of relationship breakdown, the divorce process pushes the couple into a process that by its nature is adversarial. Whilst people are reeling from the emotional toll of the breakdown and working out how to co-parent their children as separated parents, they are also expected to slug it out through solicitors and court.
“Harder” divorces don’t keep families together
For those that argue divorce needs to be difficult as a way to preserve family values, I respectfully but firmly disagree. Keeping divorce acrimonious is a dubious strategy for trying to rebuild a marriage. Divorce is hard, it is heartbreakingly awful enough without having to throw allegations of fault at each other on court papers.
Making divorce difficult is far more likely to further damage any remaining respect or friendship and cause greater harm to other family members, especially children. It creates a battleground that makes it much harder for separated parents to form the new relationship they need to co-parent their children effectively as two divorced individuals. The only winners are the lawyers who stand to gain if a couple cannot amicably agree a settlement and childcare arrangements. Is there any wonder that childcare arrangements become a way many punish their partners?
Families need a radical new approach to support effective co-parenting
What families and society needs is a radical new approach that no longer sets couples against each other but instead, through an efficient mediated process, brings them together to find joint solutions. Then we can support families to build functioning post-divorce relationships that support effective co-parenting.
Ultimately divorce is not a thing of justice and shouldn’t be run through a justice department. It needs to be focused around families and protecting those who are vulnerable through a difficult transition time, and to support relationships so there can be successful co-parenting going forwards.