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How no fault divorce could help couples, children and families is discussed with Victoria Young.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling not to overturn a previous decision to refuse Tini Owens a divorce from her husband, Tavistock Relationships’ Liz Hamlin spoke to the BBC about the case and why the law on divorce needs reform.

The case of Owens versus Owens – where the 68 year old Tini Owens has sought a divorce from her eighty-year old husband, Hugh - has led to many commentators picking up on the way in which our current laws on divorce lead to increased conflict and acrimony between partners. As Suzanne Moore noted, in the Guardian:

“Everyone knows that minimising conflict in the divorce process is a humane move, especially when children are involved”.

As part of the national coverage Tavistock Relationships was asked by Victoria Young on the BBC News Channel to offer an insight into the wider topic of divorce.

Tavistock Relationships Divorce and Separation service specialist Liz Hamlin appeared on the programme and talked about the fact that psychological processes such as separation – which involve both conscious and unconscious factors - often do not neatly fit into the law.

Divorce in the UK, Hamlin said, would be helpfully served by removing the current requirement for one party to be judged to have been at fault(for example as a result of unreasonable behaviour or infidelity, in order for a court to agree to a legal separation. “At the end of the relationship”, she observed, “it is very easy to see what the other person has done, much harder to see what you have done yourself - so no blame divorce would be helpful.”

Hamlin noted the impact on not only the adults involved but also their children as a result of the added antagonism and hurt caused by the current law.

“Divorce is not an event, it is part of a process”, Hamlin continued. “Once someone is divorced there will continue to be life and the amount of antagonism and hurt, it will take longer and longer to recover from that. Younger people, their children are affected.”

While some relationships be helped, Hamlin noted at the end of the interview – for example through Tavistock Relationships new 50+ service, which provides a space in which older couples can start to think about their relationship in their advancing years – it is also important acknowledge that “there will be others where perhaps the relationship has nowhere further to go.”

Our Divorce and Separation Service offers couples and indivduals support to those who have gone through the process to make sense of their emotional state.

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