Breaking up is hard to do: Relate calls for increased support for separating couples

February 12, 2016  |   Posted by :   |   Blog


Families going through separation require professional support before, during and after the process to ensure they make the right decisions for their situation. Unfortunately, many couples find they do not have access to the information they need, or are unaware that alternatives to the often expensive and protracted method of court divorce exist.

Relate recently released a report entitled Breaking is hard to do which seeks to address these issues, putting forward 13 recommendations for policy makers to improve the divorce process in order to ‘assist families to navigate family relationship support before, during and after separation’.

The aims of these recommendations include:

  • Placing families in need of information and guidance at the centre of the process and designing support around their requirements;
  • Empowering families to take responsibility for the management and outcome of their dispute resolution;
  • Enabling families to resolve issues as early as possible in the process;
  • Promoting collaboration between couples and the agencies that provide support;
  • Integrating and coordinating multi-disciplinary provisions;
  • Providing a single point of access for families to obtain information and support throughout the separation process via an interactive online portal, supplemented by a central telephone support hotline;
  • Implementing integrated support for young people and children whose parents are going through separation;
  • Expanding legal aid to cover a broader range of dispute resolution options, along with an innovation fund to provide support for vulnerable groups;
  • Increasing investment in relationship support, providing families with ‘the emotional and practical tools to be able to move forward, either together or apart’.

Relate has described the current system families face when going through separation as ‘complicated, confusing and expensive’:

“Separating couples often struggle to find reliable or accurate information and many find themselves in protracted litigation proceedings that cost thousands of pounds and create a sustained environment of conflict for their children.

“Our new report makes the case for a holistic, accessible and easily to use system of support that minimises conflict and makes accessing information simple and affordable.”

You can read the full report here.

Having access to a comprehensive range of options for separation is crucial for separating couples, especially when they have children to consider. A good family solicitor should be able to provide the necessary information for couples to make the right decision for their unique circumstances, as well as supporting them throughout the process. There are also existing organisations which offer advice, information and support for separating or struggling couples, such as Relate and Resolution – and even paying a visit to your GP may be of benefit if you are struggling emotionally. However, further support for families would be of great benefit to separating families, helping to inform and advise on the various out-of-court options for dispute resolution and provide additional provision for emotional and practical support.

For more information on the options available and to speak to an experienced family solicitor, please visit Frances Lindsay & Co. Our down-to-earth team are here to help you find the best solution for your family. Based in the Thames Valley, we have offices in Beaconsfield and Maidenhead and cover the whole of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

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