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Resolve to Have a Good Divorce

View profile for Sue Leadbeater
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Resolution, the organisation which promotes a non-confrontational approach to family law matters, has launched a new code of practice for its members.

The organisation, which represents 6,500 family justice professionals who are committed to supporting couples to reach constructive solutions to family disputes, has revised the code of practice to reflect the changing family justice environment.

As a specially trained dispute resolution lawyer and a Resolution member, I welcome the new code as it underlines what we’re trying to achieve for our clients and their families in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire during what can be a very difficult and traumatic time in their lives.

When Resolution first set up in the 1980s, the world of family justice was very different. If you were getting divorced, you almost always ended up in court, and it was invariably acrimonious.

However, Resolution’s founder, John Cornwell, had the vision to recognise that there had to be a better way, and from those initial meetings that he had with several like-minded family lawyers the organisation – and subsequently the code of practice – was born.

Now the environment in which we all work is changing beyond recognition and Resolution have updated the code to reflect the way in which we as members support people.

Relationship breakdown, particularly divorce, is a difficult area of law, where people are often emotionally raw and one party may feel hugely upset at being caught up in the process at all.  
Important decisions need to be made when you separate that will have an impact in the future not only on you but also on the rest of the family. 

Resolution lawyers are committed to easing the pain and financial cost of family breakdown. They provide support in trying to reach an agreement without going to court therefore avoiding the need for costly and stressful court battles where the parties lose control over the outcome and therefore what is the best for them and their children. 

Since its inception, Resolution has been at the forefront of promoting best practice, as well as launching and promoting new ways to support people through separation, including mediation, collaborative practice, and more recently, family arbitration.

It has also campaigned on issues such as legal aid – for family and care work – domestic violence, no fault divorce, rights for cohabitants and court closures.

The new code of practice is being launched as part of Resolution’s Good Divorce Week, an annual awareness raising week to promote constructive resolutions to family issues. In addition to the launch of their new code, 150 of its members are meeting with MPs in Westminster today to promote their campaign for no fault divorce and rights for cohabiting couples.

At present, to divorce, unless couples have been living apart for two years or more, one of them needs to apportion some form of blame – adultery or unreasonable behaviour. This often creates conflict and can make reaching a mutually acceptable agreement much more difficult. 

Removing blame from divorce will not make it more likely that people will separate. It will simply make it easier for people to manage their separation with as little conflict and stress as possible and reduce the likelihood that they will end up in court.

Likewise, I would like to see the law changed to give better protection to unmarried couples upon separation. In the UK, the number of cohabiting couple families has doubled from 1.5 million families in 1996 to 3.3 million families in 2016. Currently, although many people believe couples who live together have the same rights, there is currently no such thing as common law marriage in UK law, meaning cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights as married couples.

To find out more about Good Divorce Week or to read the new code of practice visit www.resolution.org.co.uk  or for more information on dispute resolution contact our Family Law team in Lincoln on 01522 512123 or Newark on 01636 673743. 

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