An annual survey of family lawyers by business advisers Grant Thornton has found that the top issue facing family law is the increased number of litigants in person, due to the lack of public funding (legal aid). This is the fifth year running that this issue has come top of the survey. Legal aid for most private family matters was removed in 2013.
The second biggest issue was the overburdening of family courts and delays resulting from court closures, and the third biggest issue was courts not being fit for purpose.
Nick Andrews, Head of Disputes at Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented: “With our results showing a continued dissatisfaction with the family court system, it will be interesting to see whether the proposed Financial Remedies Courts will have any impact on this.”
Amongst other things, the survey also asked what were the most common reasons for the breakdown of marriages. Top of the list came growing apart or falling out of love, followed by extra-marital affairs and unreasonable or controlling behaviour.
You can read the full survey here.
Family Law Cafe agrees that the family court system is in an unsatisfactory state, suffering from an increase in the numbers using the courts, many of whom are litigants in person, and a lack of proper investment. Hopefully, new initiatives such as online divorce and the new Financial Remedies Courts will improve matters.
As to the reasons for marriage breakdown, Family Law Cafe looks forward to the day when we have a system of no-fault divorce, so that the law is no longer concerned why the marriage broke down, at least for the purposes of divorce. We note, incidentally, that respondents to the survey also indicated that the introduction of no-fault divorce was the change in legislation that they would most like to see.
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Family Law Cafe offers a modern, agile and compassionate approach to family law, giving you a helping hand when you need it and guiding you through the complexities of this difficult and stressful area.
Image: Grant Thornton