High Court Judge Launches Campaign To Promote Marriage
A senior High Court judge has spoken out against couples who end their marriages too easily without trying harder to make them work.
Concerned by recent figures revealing the extent of the UK’s soaring divorce rates, Sir Paul Coleridge is setting up a foundation to promote marriage in a bid to reverse the impact of family breakdown in the UK.
Coleridge believes that the impact of divorce on children is “a complete scandal”.
He told The Times: “My message is mend it — don’t end it. Over 40 years of working in the family justice system, I have seen the fall-out of these broken relationships.
“There are an estimated 3.8m children currently caught up in the family justice system. I personally think that’s a complete scandal.”
He added: “You are four times more likely to break up before your child is five years old if you are not married.”
Sir Paul’s Marriage Foundation has the support of a number pf top names in the judiciary and legal profession, including Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former President of the Family Division, Baroness Deech, a leading family academic and currently chairman of the Bar Standards Board and Baroness Shackleton, a leading family lawyer whose divorce clients have included the Prince of Wales and Sir Paul McCartney.
However, some critics believe that judges should not take biased views that could affect their judgement in divorce cases.
Anastasia de Waal, director of family and education at think-tank Civitas, said: “It is very important where you’ve got a judge who is making decisions about families that they are not clouded by a particular view but are looking at what is going to serve the family."
” David Cameron has promised tax breaks for married couples – a proposal that has been opposed by his deputy Nick Clegg.
Coleridge said: “Governments cannot legislate stronger relationships into existence. Ultimately, more and stronger marriages will result from individual choices, behaviour and culture. We will seek to influence those choices.”
News of the campaign is timely as stressed couples struggle to cope with the aftermath of the festive season. As well as being dubbed the most depressing day of the year, today is traditionally the busiest day of the year for divorce petitions, according to lawyers.
The controversial judge hit the headlines last year when he complained that getting a divorce is easier than getting a driving licence.