A law firm specialising in family and divorce law has been accused of trivialising divorce after selling divorce gift vouchers for Christmas.
The vouchers by Lloyd Platt & Company entitle the recipient to a legal advice session with a lawyer.
Vanessa Lloyd Platt, proprietor of Lloyd Platt & Company, said that the vouchers appeal to “an enormously wide spectrum of people looking for that ‘must have’ gift for Christmas.”
However, critics have accused the firm of trivialising divorce and encouraging family breakdown.
Norman Wells from Family and Youth Concern said: “Divorce is not a gift but a personal tragedy for both parties involved and it has far-reaching consequences that extend way beyond the couple themselves.
“This is quite simply a case of a law firm cynically seeking to exploit the vulnerability of people who find themselves under great pressure at this time of year.”
Dave Percival, Coordinator of National Marriage Week, said that “anyone looking to buy this would be much better off paying for couples to get counselling.”
However, Vanessa Lloyd Platt defended the scheme saying: “We are not encouraging people to get divorced”.
She added: “It’s about explaining to them what options they’ve got.”
Over 50 of the vouchers have been sold since they went on sale earlier this month, though the firm claims to have had hundreds of enquiries.
They have been purchased by husbands, wives, mistresses and people using them to suggest that friends or family members should get a divorce.
The divorce rate in the UK is one of the highest in the world with 12 divorces per 1,000 married people in 2007.
Recent research has highlighted the problems caused by divorce.
Earlier this year it was revealed that people who divorce are likely to suffer long-term health problems including heart disease and cancer.
The research, carried out by Professor Linda Waite of the University of Chicago, found that lasting damage is caused by the stress and financial uncertainty experienced by divorcees.
Two major reports published last year also highlighted the damaging impact of divorce on children.
The National Child Development Study concluded that divorce has “repercussions that reverberate through childhood and into adulthood”, and a report by the Good Childhood Inquiry warned that family breakdown was a major cause of harm to children’s mental health.