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London family lawyer travels to Parliament to call for No Fault Divorce

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Jemma O’Neill, a family lawyer from Goodman Ray Solicitors, travelled to Parliament today to meet with MP Alan Johnson.

Ms O’Neill was taking part in a major lobby of Parliament organised by family law organisation Resolution, who represent 6,500 family justice professionals that are committed to supporting couples to reach non-confrontational resolutions to family disputes.

In total, 150 family justice professionals took part in the event which saw them hold meetings with MPs to discuss the need for divorce law to be changed to allow couples to break up without having to cite blame.

Jemma O’Neill said:

“Current divorce law is sadly not fit for today’s modern society. Many couples break up because they simply fall out of love with each other, but the law fails to recognise this as a legitimate reason for separation.

“Instead, couples are often forced to cite blame on their divorce forms, and from my personal experience as a family lawyer in London, this often leads to argument and conflicts. This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing, and undermines the work I and other Resolution members do to help separating couples minimise conflict.

“This is why I was delighted to travel to Parliament today to support Resolution’s calls for no fault divorce and to meet with Alan Johnson MP”.

Resolution’s call for no fault divorce is supported by, among others, the most senior family judge in the country; the deputy president of the Supreme Court; the Family Mediation Task Force, and Relate.

Alan Johnson MP said:

“I was pleased to meet Jemma today in Parliament and hear about their experience on the frontline of working with separating couples every day in London.

“I agree that divorce law should be modernised to allow couples to break up without having to attribute blame and I will be raising this issue in Parliament and with Government ministers”

In a recent survey of family lawyers carried out by Resolution, over 90% agreed that divorce law needs to be modernised to allow for no fault divorce. As well as no fault divorce being a better option for separating couples, family lawyers also predicted that the change in legislation would see a rise in the use of mediation and lead to a reduction in the amount of court time spent dealing with children or financial issues relating to divorce.

Nigel Shepherd, National Chair of Resolution, said:

“I’m delighted that Jemma O’Neill took part in Resolution’s lobby day in Parliament.

“Divorce is already difficult enough, we don’t need it being made harder by the law pushing couples into conflict and arguments.

“It’s vital that politicians from all parties understand this and realise that it is time to act to support the many separating couples who want to divorce amicably”.

Editors notes

• Resolution is a membership organisation representing 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals. It is committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. Resolution members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. Members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family – and in particular the best interests of children.

• The survey of Resolution members was carried out in October 2016, and is composed of the views of 340 members.

• No fault divorce was provided for in the 1996 Family Law Act, but was never brought into force. The measure was formally repealed in the Children and Families Act 2013.

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