It’s pretty standard for a school to teach maths, english and science to its students, but what about marriage? A high-profile British divorce lawyer has insisted marriage should be added to the curriculum as it could teach children how serious the commitment is and lead to fewer divorces down the track.
The Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, who has represented Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney, told BBC’s radio 4 marriage as a practical arrangement that is “not just about the heart”, and that parents are being “selfish” when they divorce and ignoring their children’s needs for a strong family foundation.
“It’s the children who are the very sad losers when parents are selfish and decide their own desires override those of their family,” she said.
Highlighting marriage as the most important decision they will make in their lives, the lawyer argued even a little bit of time on the subject in school could make the world of difference down the track.
Divorce rates are at an all-time high in many Western countries, and while some parents choose to stick out the tough times for the sake of their kids, others inevitably find separating is the best thing for them and their children. Studies have shown that children who grow up in families where fighting is frequent are more likely to have behavioural problems down the track. In addition, the constant strain of a fractured relationship is also extremely difficult on the parents involved.
The Baroness’ comments come after England’s and Wales’ divorce laws were thrown into the spotlight when a 62-year-old woman was denied a divorce because she did not meet the countries’ legal requirements.
In England and Wales the five ground for “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or living apart for two years, where both parties consent, or five if one does not.
Even though the woman gave the court 27 examples of her 80-year-old husband’s bad behaviour, which she claimed proved she cannot reasonably be expected to live with him any longer, the divorce was denied.
Being stuck in a loveless marriage is certainly not anyone’s ideal way to spend their life and many including Shackleton have urged for laws to be changed.
The woman, who is also a solicitor to Princes William and Harry, described the current divorce law as “archaic” in that couples have to “exaggerate or to agree” to get a divorce.