A poll published during Good Divorce Week highlights the importance of getting early advice when divorcing.
The YouGov poll commissioned by Resolution, the organisers behind Good Divorce Week which runs until 4th December 2020, surveyed more than 1,000 divorcees. It showed that 41% of those who had divorced within the last five years reported that they had suffered mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. More worryingly, however, the poll showed 54% had suicidal thoughts.
Many felt that getting early legal advice would have improved their personal experience of the divorce process; 63% of those surveyed said they wished they had known their legal rights sooner.
The poll also found the number of “DIY” divorces – in which the spouses seek little or no professional or legal help and represent themselves – increased from 35% among those who divorced before 2015 to 57% among those who divorced since the same date. Resolution believe that this could be attributed in part to the lack of Legal Aid available for the majority of family cases since 2013. This means that there could well have been more people recently experiencing mental health difficulties, made worse by a lack of information.
Juliet Harvey, who is the National Chair of Resolution, an organisation made up of more than 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals, said: “In recent years we’ve witnessed a toxic storm where families cannot access professional advice and where people are representing themselves in court often reaching outcomes that are far from amicable. This poll shows that as well as driving up conflict, this can be damaging to the wellbeing of everyone involved, especially children."
“We know that early professional advice not only helps those facing separation make the most informed decisions for them and their families; it can also save the taxpayer money. Family breakdown costs taxpayers an estimated £51bn each year, and for every £1 spent on legal aid in family cases, £5 is saved elsewhere."
“Funding for early advice will reduce pressure on taxpayers, on our overloaded family courts, and more importantly, on separating families across England and Wales. Today’s findings should act as a wake-up call to Government.”
Dealing with a divorce is never easy but Elizabeth Ford, a highly experienced family law solicitor and mediator at Phillips Solicitors is on hand to offer friendly and professional advice.
She said: “As a family solicitor and mediator, I would always suggest that, even if you are still thinking about your options, you seek professional legal advice. A qualified lawyer will be able to help you to understand what the practical and legal implications are of a divorce or separation. We will explain your choices and make sure that you have thought about the different elements, particularly with regards to divorce proceedings, sorting out your finances and agreeing arrangements for your children."
“Here at Phillips, we will listen to your concerns and discuss your options, letting you know what your rights are, and equip you with knowledge to manage the processes that will follow."
“Our objective is to help you as quickly and effectively as possible with the best outcome for you and your family.”
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This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.