Senior judges are wrong to treat family disputes like any other form of litigation
Divorce and parental separation frequently give rise to difficult practical and emotional issues: where and with whom any children should live, how often those children should see their other parent and how finances should be redistributed to provide for the needs of everyone involved. Sometimes separating couples are able to resolve these issues between themselves. When they cannot the only option left is to seek legal advice and, ultimately, engage the family justice system, generally at a time when the emotional wounds caused by a failed relationship may be still raw. Of course there is frequently an emotional overlay in other areas of legal practice; litigation concerning say, employment, reputational issues or boundary disputes can often be highly charged. But it is still difficult to conceive of any area of private law where the emotional aspect of the underlying dispute is so prominent. For many separating couples, the absence of any clearly stated objective of the legal process on which they embark adds more heat at the expense of light.
Despite recent rulings, courts should follow model of separate family justice system, says Barbara Reeves
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