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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Divorce and counselling now a political battleground


Divorce and counselling is a subject best left to the experts.

But, is nothing sacred? The field of divorce has increasingly been used by all political parties to attempt to show how "family friendly" or "child friendly" or even "marriage friendly" they are. Now it seems the government is suggesting that it can better arrange counselling for couples in crisis than Relate who have been doing it for years!

The Times reports that the government will soon advise GPs that they can offer (free) counselling to couples where there are significant problems and as normal there is confusion over exactly what the circumstances could be and what will be offered. Maybe as those who know nothing about the subject are interfering again.

Will the counselling be to try to save the marriage; to allow a sensible breakup, to protect the interests of the children; to help arrange contact or for the children alone? All of these are very important but best left to people like Relate.

It also seems to me that paying out some many hundreds of pounds per couple from NHS coffers is somewhat bizarre when drugs for life saving treatments are being denied for "lack of funds".

Of course, the 12 months before an election are never a good time for sensibly thought out initiatives. If they wanted to have good, considered policies that actually helped the situation then ask counsellors, divorce solicitors and the couples themselves.

Andrew Woolley
Family lawyer

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