Why naming and shaming adulterers is a great leap backwards

By Peter Jones, founder

The government’s new divorce form, aimed at making the process more user-friendly, is more likely to backfire by increasing conflict and lengthening the time a divorce takes.

The updated online form includes a space for those applying for a divorce to name who their spouse has committed adultery with. Once named, the third party is tied up in the court case, sent copies of the paperwork and given an opportunity to respond. Failure to reply can delay proceedings and rack up more costs.

Although the naming is not compulsory, many commentators rightly predict it will lead to a rise in shaming third parties as ‘wronged partners’ publicly vilify their love rivals.
The supposed advancement is a major setback following the hard work and commitment in recent years of courts, responsible legal practices and support agencies to settle family disputes non-confrontationally. The invitation to name and shame flies in the face of this.

As members of Resolution, all Jones Myers family lawyers are prominent supporters of alternative dispute resolution – striving to resolve family disputes constructively, to try to avoid costly, public and stressful litigation. Retaliating in this way might provide a short-term lift, but is unhelpful in the long run – especially where children are involved

We are committed to a collaborative approach to dealing with divorce and family matters. Even if issues are particularly complex and need a judge or an arbitrator to make a decision, a lawyer who follows Resolution’s code of practice will avoid an unnecessarily aggressive route wherever possible.

Not only will this approach save much time, stress and cost by avoiding a court battle, it allows couples to concentrate on what is really important; ensuring that children’s interests are best served; reaching a fair settlement for both sides; and being able to move on afterwards without lingering bitterness and resentment.

For more information about divorce or any aspect of family law, call Jones Myers at our Leeds office on 0113 246 0055, our Harrogate office on 01423 276104, visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet us @helpwithdivorce

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