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Bickering couples should consider what’s best for children, expert warns

An expert in family and divorce law is warning that it is often better for partners to separate if they are in difficult relationships.

The warning follows a new survey by charity Relate, which reported that almost 20 per cent of couples argue regularly or consider separating.

The organisation, which surveyed more than 20,000 people, said 2.87million people were in ‘distressed’ relationships and that arguing could have long-term impact on children.

Helen Lucking, partner in the Family team at Napthens solicitors, said in situations where arguing couples were having an impact on their children, they should consider separating.

She said: “If a child is present and is being regularly exposed to bitter arguments, it’s clear from past experience that this can have a lasting impact on the child.

“In this situation careful consideration should be given to resolving issues in the most suitable way. This might include mediation or collaborative law, or ultimately divorce.

“It’s a sad fact of life that some relationships do end, so we would always recommend looking at options up front when disputes become serious.

“For instance, unmarried couples who are living together can prepare cohabitation agreements which set out what will happen in the event of a separation.

“Planning like this will make it easier to deal with any difficult situations that might arise, reducing the stress on all parties at what can be a tough time.

“The most important step is taking professional legal advice at an early stage to minimise the impact on any children caught in the middle.”

Family and Divorce - Partner - Helen Lucking