Heald Solicitors Lobby Parliament for Family Law Reform

Posted 4th January 2017

Mary: “The government is closing courts and virtually begging people not to litigate and fight in court, yet it won’t reform our out-dated fault-based divorce law. It causes so much trouble, because people do not like being told it is their fault their marriage is over, because they have done X, Y and Z. Mostly they feel it is not their fault, someone else is to blame.”

Dawn: “Too right, people normally don’t recognise themselves in a divorce petition and get furious and want to defend, which of course is an absolute no no.”

Mary: “Anyway, my M.P. Alistair Bur took the point, he was supportive of reform. I think Resolution’s mass lobby may have some effect. Possibly. I’m not holding my breath.”

Dawn: “Besides it was fascinating to see the inside of Westminster, it is very impressive. Stained glass windows, massive paintings, oak everywhere, then daylight peeping through holes in the roof, miles of stone floors, armed police and school children marching in crocodiles.”

Mary: “My most powerful impression was the feeling of layers of history, change and politics. It is very cold, with a powerful smell of dead mice in one corridor. The Central Lobby was like a crossroads, with marble statues of long dead politicians watching the melée, then suddenly there was Jeremy Corbyn, very much alive in a gaggle of men all looking earnest. Then Michael Gove went past.”

Dawn: “You can’t help noticing the building is in dire need of repair. Especially roof and windows, it must leak. I think they’re all going to move out for ten years while it’s renovated.”

Mary: “There was something else that completely grabbed me. It was the memorials in the floor of the great hall. They said ‘Here lay in state (and the dates) Winston Churchill, that was 1965, the Queen Mother, Elizabeth, 2002, then other queens, going further back and the kings, the Georges.”

Dawn: “I loved the view from committee room 10 where they put us all. The Thames looks amazing through those ancient mullioned windows, even if they don’t shut and it’s the secondary glazing keeping out the weather.”

Mary: “I didn’t detect a huge amount of enthusiasm for our secondary lobby issue – reforming the non-existent law of co-habitation to protect the vulnerable. Not any co-hab, just those ending after long relationships where someone ends up homeless and destitute and their partner has amassed all the assets.”

Dawn: “Nor did I, the politicians we spoke to seemed to think it was a matter of choice, when it often isn’t, it’s ignorance and exploitation of vulnerable people by more self-interested money minded partners who scoop the pool.”

Mary: “They haven’t seen some of the cases we have. Anyway, I would not have missed it for the world – Happy New Year everyone.

Mary Banham-Hall, Dawn Millar and Kelly Longmore sort out separations, divorces and separations with kindness and good sense at www.healdsolicitors.com and they have been trying to sort out law reform. Mary.Banham-Hall@healdlaw.com; dawn.millar@healdlaw.com