Acrimonious divorces on increase due to Government cuts warns Coalville law experts
Government cuts in family law are leading to acrimonious divorces causing a lifetime of trouble, warns one of Leicestershire’s leading solicitors.
Kathryn Hicklin, an expert in family law at QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank said statistics compiled by the Ministry of Justice showing a 47% drop in out of court mediation since legal aid for the majority of divorces was cut in April ‘are worrying.’
“Legal aid, which is Government funding, was removed for divorces except in cases of domestic violence,” said Ms Hicklin. “Now many warring parties are no longer directed towards accredited mediators as the pipeline has been broken.”
“This is worrying as it could mean couples having acrimony that could last a lifetime and affect so many others,” she warned.
The controversial Government cuts has cut £350m from the £2.2bn legal aid scheme by removing entire areas of law from public funding, including all family advice. Previously, where there was a disparity in wealth between spouses involved in a divorce, state-funded legal advice could provide equality. Now the legal aid bill will limit public funds for legal advice at the end of a relationship to only those cases, which involve domestic abuse.
“Currently there is still legal aid for mediation, but fewer referrals are being made so this means without others looking for resolutions break-ups are just going to be far nastier than they need be,” she advised.
“However, the sad aspect which has received so little publicity is that these poorly thought out cuts will mean the public will ultimately suffer meaning a lack of access to justice,” she added.
QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank is one of the first firms in the East Midlands to have adapted to the changes, with fixed fee divorces starting at £500.
“It is vital that divorces proceed as smoothly as possible and that all parties are able to rebuild their lives as swiftly as possible,” added Ms Hicklin. “That is why we urge the public to take the correct long-term approach and seek advice specific to their circumstances,” she said.
More details and a free consultation with QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank can be obtained by calling 01530 510 666