Reducing Conflict in family matters…
Reducing conflict in family matters is vital. For many years the family court has encouraged family law solicitors to adopt a more constructive and collaborative approach to how they deal with the resolution of family issues compared to other courts. This is because it has been found that trying to resolve matters in a way that minimises conflict between the parties is likely to lead to better outcomes for the family in the long run. Many family law solicitors agree to act in line with a code of conduct and are members of an organisation known as Resolution which supports this approach. The courts are continuing to develop this approach in many ways.
We have now passed the one-year anniversary of the change to the divorce law in England and Wales which removed the need for separating couples to make any allegations against one another when they were seeking a divorce. Since April 2023 anyone wishing to divorce has been able to simply file an application online through the divorce portal stating that their marriage has broken down irretrievably to start the divorce process.
Changing the process in this way has undoubtedly allowed some couples to avoid the difficult confrontation or negotiation that previously arose following the breakdown of their marriage in deciding who would petition whom and on what basis. It has also stopped the rush to get in first with the divorce petition to gain control of the process. Between April and December 2022, 22% of the divorce applications issued under the new law were issued on a joint basis, something that was not possible previously.
As part of the changes, the court also took the opportunity to review and change some of the legal terminology affecting the divorce process. Petitioners became Applicants and the Divorce petition is now the divorce application.
Recently the Family Solutions Group published a paper called “Language Matters” which addresses the effect of legal terms used in the family court. They have recommended that the terms used be looked at again to minimise their impact. The language used can stoke a combative mindset and some terms such as “opponent”, “judgement” and “dispute” create the suggestion of an environment that is far from collaborative. Instead, they suggest the use of the parties’ first names in documents and the discussion of resolution in more constructive terms.
Talk to Tollers
Tollers family solicitors will always aim to minimise conflict in dealing with your family matters as far as possible. If you require assistance and would like to look at ways of reducing conflict…Talk to tollers on 01604 258558, our experienced family team is on hand to guide you through and facilitate you.