In September 2023, Jude Eyre of the UK’s Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO) summarised for a legal conference their 2022 report: “Separating families: Experiences of separation and support”. Fortunate families can access the help that makes for better separation experiences. For the rest and their children, separation is harsh without resources.
The NFJO is concerned about the number of separating families heading to the family courts. The costs can cripple those families who can afford this legal system.
The NFJO is interested in equality of access to better kinds of support. Support for ALL families and their children – those who need the family courts, and those who can avoid them.
“Court was commonly treated by parents as a last resort … More thought needs to be given about how parents are supported to help their children.” More on Page 2 below.NFJO Report on Separated Families (2022)
Resources are key
Jude Eyre emphasised “the importance of access to social support and material resources … Parents with such access are better equipped to navigate the practical and emotional challenges of separation. Conversely, those without these resources face greater difficulties in supporting their children through the impact of separation.”
Emotional and relational resources are key to being able to negotiate with ex-partners. When parents find it hard to manage their distress, conflict and tension can become entrenched, making it more difficult to manage the separation.Jude Eyre, Associate Director of Strategy and Delivery, NFJO
Tasked with observing family justice, the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory shares with other organisations the concerns they have with a mainly legal system for separating families.
Parents try to avoid solicitors and courts but struggle to find effective support. For all families and their children, separation is harsh without resources.