This week it was reported that the former head of the Family Courts in England and Wales, Sir James Munby, criticised the system for not accommodating the voices of children and their needs because it would be too expensive.
Commenting on this, Mishcon de Reya's Head of Family, Sandra Davis, said:
"Children's voices are not heard soon enough in the divorce process. At present, there is no safe, government funded place for children to air their views, and – just as importantly - no mechanism through which the adults involved must listen to them.
"Insufficient CAFCASS resources leave magistrates to make crucial decisions that will impact the lives of the children involved significantly.
"Currently, there is no state funded mediation or methods of alternative dispute resolution and no state funded availability for therapeutic assistance, both of which would prevent many disputes reaching the Courts in the first place. Once in Court, views become polarised, perspective can get lost, and the chance of a child's voice being heard all but disappears.
"Sir James Munby's comments reflect the reality of the situation. Reform is urgently required."
Mishcon de Reya has produced a book promoting children's voices in parental separation: Splitting Up - A Child's Guide to a Grown Up Problem.