There’s also been an unexpected rise in the divorce rate.

The number of court cases involving parental disputes over children had been falling steadily since 2009.

However, official Ministry of Justice figures show that between April and June this year, there were 27,204 children involved in family court cases. That was a 14% increase on the same three months last year.

There was also a 2% increase in the divorce rate, which had previously been steady since 2008.

It’s thought the slight increase in the number of divorces may have been caused by the recession, with unemployment and financial worries putting extra pressure on many marriages.

The reason for the increase in court cases involving children is harder to pinpoint. It comes at a time when the Government is promoting the concept of shared parent
ing and this may have given some fathers the impetus to seek greater contact with their children.

It’s also possible that the recession has put pressure on the financial arrangements between separated couples making them less willing to co-operate and show goodwill.

It’s certainly disappointing to see the figures rise because all the emphasis from Government and family lawyer groups has been to avoid court action between couples and promote the use of mediation instead. It is much cheaper and far less stressful.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article, or about mediation services that enable couples to solve differences amicably without the need for court action.

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