To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of divorce on people's mental health; and what steps his Department is taking to help reduce that effect.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of out-of-court alternatives for couples seeking divorce.
The Government has made a landmark change to the law on divorce with the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. We are working to implement it so that the legal process for divorce does not incentivise conflict. By making an applicant or applicants’ statement conclusive evidence of the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership, we are removing the need to establish conduct or separation-based facts and for the drafting of supporting particulars.
We want to encourage positive, non-confrontational approaches to resolving problems before they reach the courts. This includes separating parents who are in conflict. In December 2020, we issued a statement on behalf of the Family Justice Board that sets out our immediate and longer-term reform priorities for the family justice system. This includes testing an earlier gateway to court to offer families a more rounded assessment of the needs of children and their families, and an improved offer for non-adversarial problem solving. This Government is committed to ensuring couples and parents can navigate the family justice system and understand the different options available to resolve their disputes, including out-of-court options such as mediation where they are safe and appropriate.