Why Naming And Shaming Adulterers Is A Great Leap Backwards
Peter Jones, Lawyer
The government's new divorce form, aimed at making the process more user-friendly, is more likely to backfire by increasing conflict and lengthening the time a divorce takes.
The updated online form includes a space for those applying for a divorce to name who their spouse has committed adultery with. Once named, the third party is tied up in the court case, sent copies of the paperwork and given an opportunity to respond. Failure to reply can delay proceedings and rack up more costs.
Although the naming is not compulsory, many commentators rightly predict it will lead to a rise in shaming third parties as 'wronged partners' publicly vilify their love rivals.
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The invitation to name and shame flies in the face of this and, although retaliating in this way might provide a short-term lift, it is unhelpful in the long run - especially where children are involved.
A more constructive way forward is a collaborative approach to divorce and family matters which follow the code of practice set out by Resolution (a group of family lawyers and other professionals) to avoid costly, public and stressful litigation.
Even if issues are particularly complex and need a judge or an arbitrator to make a decision, a lawyer who follows Resolution's code of practice will avoid an unnecessarily aggressive route wherever possible.
Not only will this approach save much time, stress and cost by avoiding a court battle, it allows couples to concentrate on what is really important; ensuring that children's interests are best served; reaching a fair settlement for both sides; and being able to move on afterwards without lingering bitterness and resentment.
Why Naming And Shaming Adulterers Is A Great Leap Backwards, 27th September 2017, 8:54 AM