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Couples urged to make marriage work
Tue 03 Jan 2012
Men and women have been encouraged to try harder to repair a failing marriage, particularly if they have children.
According to Sir Paul Coleridge, a senior judge at the High Court, broken relationships can have a devastating impact on a couple's offspring, the Times reports.
Indeed, he warned that 3.8 million children are "currently caught up" in the UK's family justice system - a state of affairs he described as a "complete scandal".
Sir Paul has therefore urged couples to take steps to repair their relationship rather than end it in a divorce court.
The judge added that more needs to be done to support and promote marriage as the "best structure in which to raise children".
Sir Paul said this is because the likelihood of a couple breaking up before their child is five years old is much higher if they are cohabiting rather than married.
This comes amid efforts by the government to encourage men and women who are parting company to undergo mediation to resolve disputes rather than go straight to a divorce court.
Carol Ellinas, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: "As long established divorce lawyers we take our responsibilities very seriously and when we first meet new clients we often explore the possibilities of a reconciliation.
"We have several trusted counsellors whom we often refer clients to. Sometimes this leads to couples counselling with nothing ever happening on the legal front.
"At the same time we have a duty to consider whether urgent legal action is necessary, but this is not the general rule. Usually nothing is so urgent that legal steps must be taken immediately.
"This gives the parties time to consider reconciliation. It is not unusual that following an initial meeting the client realises the enormity of the step they were about to take and they reconsider.
"In my experience as a divorce lawyer, clients whether they are men or women are extremely sad that their marriage has broken down but if they believe their marriage can be saved they are usually prepared to try - provided they know where to go for help."