A new study has shown that a vast number of people are unaware of the options available to them to help dissolve their marriage out of court.

The independent study was published by the University of Exeter and has shown 45% of those surveyed in England and Wales were completely unaware of out the of court options.

The Mapping Paths to Family Justice report was a result of a three year academic research project and follows radical changes to family law with a drive to keep more divorce cases out of the courts and the removal of the availability of legal aid, except for cases involving domestic violence and for mediation.

The report found that 44% of the couples surveyed were aware of mediation, 32% of Solicitor Negotiations and only 14% were aware of Collaborative Law.

Despite the growing availability of less contentious divorce methods, the UK still operates a fault based divorce system. The Law Commission has previously attempted to change the law under the Family Law Act 1996 with the aim of introducing the no fault divorce over a ‘process of time’ but this was never implemented and instead repealed.

Since 1975 Australia, in contrast, has allowed for no fault divorces following a 12 month period of separation but an element of ‘fault’ in children and financial matters is maintained. Canada has a similar 12 month separation period with no requirement for fault to be proved and several European countries including Sweden and Spain also operating a ‘faultless’ divorce system.

The report did not cover arbitration, another out of court method which focuses primarily on resolving disputes over financial matters out of court.

Article source: shropshirelive.com 27/8/14

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