Lack Of Awareness About The Options Available To Couples Going Through Break-Ups

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26th November 2013 10:43 - Public Consultation

According to new research carried out by Resolution there is patchy understanding about alternatives to going to court during a break up. The research suggests this has been worsened by the recent cuts to legal aid resulting in fewer couples having access to free legal help. Resolution says the research shows 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%.The findings reveal that only half of those taking part in the poll of over 4,000 British adults said they would consider a non-court solution if divorcing. These findings come despite the fact that for many couples it could avoid a long courtroom battle and would reduce stress and save a significant amount of money. The study also estimates that over 115,000 people each year could save money and emotional stress if they were made fully aware of all their options.

It was also discovered that only 51% said they might consider opting for a non-court-based solution if divorce was on the cards, with only 23% believing the non-court-based methods of divorce and separation make the terms clear to both parties which have caused ill-founded scepticism about the legality of the non-court solutions. Furthermore, only 24% think that non-court based methods of divorce protect the rights of both parties with 50% saying that non-court based 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.

As part of the study, the research also looked into a sequence of 'Christmas Stress Factors'. More than 40% find the festive period to be very stressful while 33% state they just want the Christmas season to be over as soon as possible. The findings also reveal that couples who have ever been divorced or separated find the Christmas period to be significantly more stressful.

Commenting on the findings, Liz Edwards, Chair of Resolution, said: "The findings uncover a worrying lack of awareness about the options available to couples who are going through break-ups. For the vast majority there are other, more suitable solutions which make the difficult process of break-up that much less stressful. This year's Family Dispute Resolution Week is designed to address this lack of understanding."

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