Category: Family Mediation

Divorce Rates Fall to New Low

According to figures released by the ONS, heterosexual divorce rates in the UK have fallen to their lowest point since 1973.  

The last time divorce rates were as low as they are now, Britain was about to join the EEC which was later renamed the EU and Elvis Presley was still performing. Fast forward to 2018 and divorce rates are once again down significantly with 8.4 divorces per 1,000 heterosexual couples. This marked a 5.6% decrease on the previous year.  

In total there were 101,669 divorces of heterosexual couples in 2017, which was 4.9% less than the year before. So does this mean people are suddenly more likely to stick together or is this just a statistical anomaly? According to the ONS the reason there are less divorces is simply down to there being less marriages.  

People are increasingly more likely to cohabit that get married. Compare this to 1973 when cohabiting would still have been largely frowned upon and these latest figures can be put into perspective.  

It is too early to tell if there is a more positive trend towards heterosexual couples staying together rather than opting to divorce if marriages become strained. In fact, among older people, divorce rates have actually gone up.

Getting A Divorce If You Have Children

One of the biggest concerns for parents contemplating a divorce is what will happen will happen to their children. From who gets custody to maintenance payments, the whole process of coming to an agreement can be difficult for both parties.  

If you are in this position then one thing you will be relieved to hear is that children are not included in the divorce case itself. Matter concerning the children are treated separately nowadays and cases are often quite straightforward. 

In some cases divorced parents can resolve what happens with the children themselves without having to go through lengthy court battles of the kind you might have seen on tv or in the movies. Arrangements for the children are now made via family courts under what is called a child arrangements order while housing and maintenance payments are dealt with again separately as part of financial relief proceedings.  

Even before any of these cases are brought before the courts there will be a mediation process to try to resolve any outstanding issues before going to court.  Family based arrangements can be made between ex partners to sort out child maintenance without the involvement of third parties which is often far less stressful than having to involve others.  

What Can You Expect from Family Mediation?

Inevitably there will be lots of families dealing with all the issues surrounding divorce as we enter the second month of the year. January is peak season for divorce in the UK when couples have decided enough is enough following the uneasy truce that Christmas often brings.  

Divorce doesn’t just involve the couple themselves, however, there is also the potentially large impact it will have on other family members and children in particular. This is why it is vital that agreements are made on what happens after divorce.  

As we all hear about daily with the UK’s ‘divorce’ from the EU uncoupling and untangling years of cooperation and shared assets involves a lot of compromise and negotiations. For families, maintenance and support are often the first things that spring to mind, but there are also the smaller issues that can be no less important. Who gets the pets for example or where will children go to school?  

All of this of course can often be sorted out with some negotiation which is covered under the umbrella term of mediation. Mediation is not there to judge or be judgemental, it simply provides an opportunity for all concerned to maintain some control over what will happen. Once a case gets to court it will be down to the judge to decide and this can sometimes lead to a lot of unsatisfactory outcomes and an expensive legal bill at the end of it all.