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Judge launches Marriage Foundation

High court judge Sir Paul Coleridge will this week launch the Marriage Foundation, an independent charity that he hopes will reverse the trend of family breakdown.

30 April 2012

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The foundation will champion the institution of marriage as the “gold standard for relationships” by devising policies and offering practical support for families experiencing relationship difficulties.

The serving judge, who sits in the Family Division, last year claimed that getting a divorce was “easier than getting a driving licence” and that marital breakdown has led to the “instability of family life”, with damaging consequences for children, parents and society.

“Marriage and family breakdown is one of the most destructive scourges of our time,” said Sir Paul. “For that reason, I have, for some years now, been trying to raise the subject whenever I have had the chance to speak publicly on the matter. I am now convinced that it is time not only to talk but to act.”

The judge, who got married in 1973 and has three children, said he hopes that the campaign will be “the start of a national movement with the aim of changing attitudes across the board from the very top to the bottom of society, and thus improve the lives of us all, especially children”.

According to Sir Paul, around 3.8m children are caught up in the family justice system each year.

Other supporters of the scheme include former President of the Family Division Baroness Butler-Sloss and Chairman of the Bar Standards Board Baroness Deech. Coalition ministers have in the past suggested the government needs to do more to prevent family breakdown. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said earlier this year that it was better for children to be raised by two parents, and best of all when those two parents were married.

Sir Paul has said that one of the reasons he was launching the foundation was because waiting for the government to act was “merely an excuse for moaning and inactivity”.

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Family