It's 2013 already and I'm back to work after the Christmas break, which in the Davies household included the safe delivery of our first child. Whilst I was off, I read in the press that a new survey found that over half of both married and divorced people consider that it is too easy to get divorced these days. A quick read of my previous blogs on the subject and you will appreciate that I don't share that view so I thought I would blog my perspective.
I have been working in family law since 1991 so I've met an awful lot of people who are facing the end of their marriage. I really cannot remember the last time I met someone I thought was taking the matter too lightly or had not thought through the consequences. In my experience, clients come to see me for the first time after much thought and, very often, heartache. It is an intensely personal experience played out, to a greater or lesser extent, in public - in front of family, friends and, sometimes, the public at large. However, it starts with a conviction (which may or may not be shared) that the relationship we had thought was permanent, is no longer so. Making the legal procedure to end marriages more difficult will not change that.
It might be better for us to think more in advance about what it takes to create and maintain a strong marriage and perhaps that will be the subject of a future blog. However, for me, it is not the job of the law to force unhappy spouses to remain together - that can be immensely damaging for all concerned, particularly children. It is important, in my opinion, for people going through divorce to come through the process with as much of their dignity and assets as possible, rather than losing both in a bruising legal contest, whilst paying particular attention to the needs of their children. That places a heavy responsibility on others involved in the process, including lawyers, to act responsibly.
Alex Davies is the head of the family team at Cripps Harries Hall. You can view his profile here.