I have sometimes been surprised by the attitude that some of my colleagues at the family bar, and family lawyers generally (and indeed, I regret to say, sometimes the family bench), have towards money. Quite often I have been told, in the context of a private law section 8 dispute or indeed sometimes in the course of care proceedings, that family money is an unimportant issue. I have been told that it is trivial; I have been told that one or more of the parties is being mercenary; I have been told, implicitly and explicitly, that disputes about money, particularly in the context of contact proceedings, should be treated as totally irrelevant because they are not what family law should be about. It turns out, as I always suspected, that the children involved in such disputes emphatically disagree. I am delighted to see that, as this report from CAFCASS demonstrates, 46% of children involved in contact disputes were worried about money and accepted the blindingly obvious truth, namely that they had got poorer as a result of their parents separating. Money is important to children too. The very least we can do as professionals is accept that they have got a point. Bravo to CAFCASS for commissioning this research and, I hope, making all legal professionals aware that money matters as much to children as it does to their parents.
The image is “Mrs Guinness and her Children” from the Library of Congress Collection on flickr. I love the standing little girl’s rather mad oversized hat.