What would you do about divorce and what reforms would you like to make ?
I think we have to accept that the 'problems' of the likes of John Charman and Paul McCartney will not be a priority for a Labour Government. Most of us would happily take on their problems if we had their money !
But I am far more concerned about the problems of ordinary people facing divorce and separation, bearing in mind that in many cases a divorce is the last thing they wanted and was forced on them against their wishes. So for starters -
I am concerned that law is being made by unelected judges pursuing their own agenda and frequently doing so in a way which runs contrary to the views of most ordinary people. I am old fashioned enough to believe that there is a world of difference between the way you treat a marriage which breaks down after three years as opposed to one which ends after thirty.
I would like to see a root and branch simplication of forms and procedures, and in particular a fast track, no frills, procedure for use in simpler, less complicated cases - something like a small claims court.
I would like to see mediation and conciliation be the norm, and not the exception.
I would like to see much greater certainty about ancillary relief than is currently the case. Uncertainty begets litigation and encourages people to take unreasonable negotiating stances.
I would like to see a statutory level of protected income for the payer of spousal maintenance and child support and an absolute limit of 50% of net income which could not be exceeded in any circumstances.
Today wikivorce reached 10,000 members and growing like wildfire. This is ample testimony to the fine mess our law has gotten itself into.
I think courts are the wrong places to handle family matters. You feel like a criminal going thru that process and I think its much better being handled by arbitration and negotiation. Divorcing couples should be forced to negotiate. I think no blame divorce is wrong. You can do what you like in marriage and cant be held accountable for it. Thats a bad reflection on marriage as its an excuse to do what you want and no one will hold you accountable. In the rest of society if you do something wrong you will have to pay. Why is marriage different?
Counsiling should also be part of it as well as many people come out of this process with destroyed feelings of self worth.
Most people focus on the money. If you look at the process thats where most of the acrimony is. I am not pro women but women suffer the most finacialy in divorce. Mostly they have given up a career to look after children and build the home. And by and large they do an excelent job. The bloke however thinks that he will be shafted and the women worries about her future. This imabalance must be addressed. Both sides of the coin needs to be addressed and it can only be addressed by negotiation not confrontation. I am afraid that the current system is confrontational and thats bad for divorces.
I think people are wrong to focus on the money. Its the emtional impact that hits you hardest. The loss of self esteam affects us for many years and touches all parts of our lives. Work, socialising, shopping. You name it. This is the unseen effect of divorce. Falk.
I would like the whole process to be over much more quicker than what it is.Whoever deals with the issues to be fair and not bias in anyway because they have got out of bed the wrong side or that their car broke down so they have the hump , and make you leave feeling worse than you did when you went in.
For judges and CAFCASS not to think they know whats best for your children , parents should be helped to come to an amicable agreement regarding their children and be reminded it is still both their duty do provide love etc... for their children, more counselling and support for both parents and the children going through seperation and divorce.
To not use the phase not enough sex in a marriage as a reason of the marriage breaking down as part of unreasonable behaviour when the law states we have the right to say no to sex.
A better, more amicable and friendlier way of dealing with child support issues.
I think i agree with falk keep family matters out of those big intimdating buildings, neoigate in more comfy relaxing surroundings.
Great topic! I have a feeling that this will be very interesting and in no particular order I would like the following changes if I where King
1) Scrap the ''No blame'' divorce.
2) If the marriage is under 5 years you take out of the marriage what you put into it and then split the rest 50/50
3) If the marriage is under 5 years you are not liable for stepchildren who are classed as '' children of the family'' at the moment
4) If any abuse has happened the abuser has no rights what-so-ever !!
5) Counselling should be compulsory within the first five years of marriage say once every six months.
6) If an affair has taken place the person who has had the affair has no rights to anything
7) If an affair has taken place the other party should be named and an adultery letter explaining why the marriage has ended be made public like when you get married and have to make it public. Name and shame!!
8) You can both use the same solicitor who also acts as a mediator and have a set fee of £100 each.
9) If there are children involved it should be a set percentage of the husbands / wife's salary, regardless of earnings (is that to simple?)
10) I would give the first 10,000 members of Wiki a massive all expenses paid party !!!
At the moment I am going through a bit of bovver with my wife who is American and has returned to her home in North Carolina, not because she wants to ditch me as such, she's just homesick. That's by the by - but I won't surprise you that I have taken advice and done research on the way things are done over there. What impressed me was that there is a much greater emphasis on resolving disputes through mediation, arbitration, or collaborative law. Many attorneys there are also mediators. To be sure, there are some solicitors here who are also mediators, there just aren't all that many. And the rules are much firmer and more robust in North Carolina - for example, anything which you inherit, or which you bring into the marriage, is not available for distribution on divorce and there are no exceptions. For everything else there is a default 50/50 split, but the rules do allow for exceptions.
Now I know there is scope for different points of view on the subject, but a greater use of mediation seems to be the way forward.