New statistics published earlier this week suggest that parents may be “giving up” on family courts.
The figures from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) show a fall in the number of private law cases – such as divorce and custody battles – last month.
The public body, part of the Ministry of Justice, represents children in these proceedings to ensure their best interests are served.
In July, Cafcass received a total of 2928 new cases, 36 per cent down on the same month in 2013. This continues a decline that has been apparent over the past year.
Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers, said that recent reforms, including the introduction of compulsory Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) may have played a part in the reduction.
Simon Bethel, who chairs the Resolution children’s committee, said: “These results may well instead show that parents are not finding their own way through the maze of options regarding their children when they separate, or that the extra hurdle of a compulsory, expensive MIAM is proving too much for many couples.
“Rather than receiving expert help to try and secure working shared care arrangements for their children, they are giving up.
“This drop in court applications could mean that there are more separated families where children are needlessly missing out on a relationship with one of their parents, which has long term repercussions for the child and for their family.”