Wednesday, 31 March 2010


I have been contacted on behalf of Dr. Julie Ancis, a professor of Counselling Psychology at Georgia State University in the USA, who is studying women’s experiences with divorce and custody disputes. The purpose of this research is to gain an understanding of women’s experiences within the legal system. Individual interviews are being conducted with participants, and will cover topics such as interactions with attorneys, judges, and guardian ad litems; coping; and parenting issues. Interviews are confidential and tend to last between 1 ½ to 2 1/2 hours. With the knowledge gained through this study, Dr Ancis would like to educate those in the court systems and health professionals about the unique challenges that women may face in divorce and custody disputes. The university may pursue a study about men’s experiences at a future date. If you have relevant experience and are willing to participate in the survey, Dr. Julie Ancis can be contacted at

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


I have long admired Henry Moore’s sculptures. Like that of all great artists, his work has always struck me as being ahead of its time. Hence, whilst in London on Sunday, I took the opportunity to visit the Henry Moore Exhibition at the Tate. It was a chance to appreciate how a great sculptor developed, from carving images akin to those made by ancient Mexican natives, to things more angular and visually disturbing as he lived through the war years.

All great items of beauty, and throughout it all the theme of nursing mothers pervaded; not in families, just single mothers with a child.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


A new YouGov poll published by Resolution on Friday ahead of its annual conference in Manchester this weekend , reveals just how out of step with the realities of family life and its breakdown the political parties are in modern Britain. The YouGov poll asked over 2000 adults in the UK about a range of issues related to family breakdown, divorce and the status of cohabiting couples. The poll found that almost three quarters (72 percent) of people don’t think unhappily married couples should stay together because of the children, and over two-thirds (68 percent) believe that couples should be able to divorce without blaming each other.

David Allison, the new Chair of Resolution, said: “Family issues are dominating the election agenda with all parties developing and publishing policies aimed at the nation’s families. Sadly many of these policies miss the point, fail to engage with the realities of family life in the 21st century and leave many families out in the cold. If unhappy families aren’t going to stay together because of their children – they certainly won’t stay together because of a £10 tax break. Politicians need to stop using family life as a political football and engage instead with real solutions which support rather than judge families.”

The online YouGov poll also showed that 4 out of 5 (80 percent) people agree with the principle of financial support when a relationship ends, and almost three quarters (72 percent) of those who agreed with this principle believe that it should apply to couples in any relationship regardless of whether or not they are married.

“Despite the fact that cohabitation is the fastest growing family type in the UK, the present government has only paid lip service to the idea of supporting families of all shapes and sizes and did not support Lord Lester’s recent Cohabitation Bill. By passing up the opportunity to reform the law for cohabiting couples it has allowed discrimination to persist in family law,” David Allison said.

Resolution, which represents over 5500 family lawyers, believes that couples must be able to divorce without blame after six months of separation and couples who live together must be given legal protection.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Once upon a time I had a client who liked to let me know his feelings. The whole divorce process was understandably frustrating for him and he kept me updated as to how much, by peppering his e-mails with grunts and growls in the way Little Girl includes smiling faces in her messages. Even in the midst of a jungle-like roar though he could come out with little pearls of wisdom that he’s consented to me sharing with you here, like:

“I didn’t realise that a marriage breakdown would cost me twice what I initially thought, nor ten times as much emotional pain; Roarrrrr!”

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


I hear that a survey published today purportedly suggests that some 63% of mothers wish their children had married someone else. Now not only could that provide a statistical basis for all those old mother-in-law jokes but also a reason why so many marriages crumble under the weight of relentless family pressure and asides. There comes a time, especially once married, when we have to learn to stand on our own two feet, make our own decisions and live with them, not with our mothers.