Christmas time should be family time - and no-one is more aware of that than the thousands of divorced and separated parents who will be apart from their children this festive season as a direct result of the country’s draconian family law system.
Luton entrepreneur Arran Stewart aims to change all that and has already received massive support for a campaign launched this summer.
Since Justice for Children was set up in August, more than 10 million people have watched his video explaining the rationale behind it and he has received a heartbreaking 25,000 private messages on Facebook.
Arran said: “The reach has been phenomenal. The lion’s share has been from people telling their own stories, about the problems and issues they face and asking for advice.
“And nine times out of 10 they’re about delays in family law. Something that starts off as a minor tiff can take months to resolve because the process is so time-consuming and the courts are so over-subscribed. And in the meanwhile parents’ rights to see their children are being withheld.
“The true victims are the children who don’t see their parents for months and years while trivial issues go through the court process.
“They’re more likely to misbehave at school, they struggle with relationships and are more likely to be part of a separated family when they grow up.”
Arran would like the Government to introduce a body to speed up the process and improve efficiency.
He said: “This would not only nip the level of hostility between parents in the bud, but would also drastically reduce the amount of time they’re separated from their children.
“In addition it would allow more time for serious cases that need the court’s attention. Many spiral out of control simply because of the length of time taken to resolve issues. Parents take matters into their own hands, which can result in drastic action and desperate behaviour.”
He added: “The system is failing so badly I’ve taken it upon myself to try and do something.
“Family law is a very old piece of legislation. It doesn’t even take into account same sex marriages.”
Arran – who started MyJobMatcher.com with a grant from the Marsh Farm Community Development Trust – – has set up a petition to encourage a review of family law. It received more than 12,000 signatures in the first two months but his target is 100,000 which will allow the petition to be fast tracked.
He’s also got celebrity friends like Jazz Lintott – star of The Real Hustle – on board to raise awareness.