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Is marriage the "gold standard for relationships?"

View profile for Lisa Collins
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A serving High Court Judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, has established a new independent charity, The Marriage Foundation, with the aim of championing marriage as the “gold standard for relationships”. The charity was launched last week.

Sir Paul, who spent 30 years as a family law specialist barrister before being appointed as a High Court Judge in 2000, drew on all his experience within the family law system, commenting that he had, “for some years now, been trying to raise the subject” of marriage breakdown deeming it “one of the most destructive scourges of our time”.

The charity has been the subject of much debate over the last few days with many praising the efforts of Sir Paul to re-educate people about the value of stable relationships to society. Others are less convinced about the benefits of the charity and, I too, require some persuasion.

That is not to say I am adverse to the idea; couples marry with the intention of spending their lives together and many do so happily, but divorce is not planned and some marriages cannot be saved. I believe divorce, which is often an extremely difficult time for all involved, can nevertheless be a positive step for some individuals and children alike, avoiding what may be a more destructive scenario in future years.

When couples do separate, it is the role of lawyers to encourage individuals to act fairly and reach a settlement amicably with a view to maintaining a good relationship for the sake of any children involved.

Marriage may well be the “gold standard” for some relationships but for those that do sadly break down there is, in my opinion, no need for a path of destruction to follow.