Church leaders have rebuked a British law firm that is promoting a “special offer” for “free divorces” to attract new potential clients.
Firm Follett Stock Solicitors has been advertising free divorces by offering services that would ordinarily cost just under $1000 for free. However, the deal seemingly encourages couples to act quickly by stating that the offer is open only until June 30.
Church leaders have condemned the promotional stunt, saying it is immoral and simply encourages couples to undertake quick divorces without proper consideration, rather than concentrating efforts to save their marriages.
The law firm has advertised the special deal on custom-made flyers, as well as on its website and on social networking site Twitter.
The advert says:
“Do you need a divorce? Would you like a lawyer who is straight-talking and hates jargon? Would you like a FREE divorce?
“If you answered YES, YES, YES then Follett Stock is the law firm for you. Instruct Follett Stock’s Exeter office by June 30, 2011 for your divorce and Follett Stock will do it for free.”
The offer is made with the words: “Be quick and don't miss out.”
However, according to The Daily Mail, Father Robin Eastoe, who is Rector of a group of churches in England said: “Divorce is generally a tragic thing that masks an awful lot of pain and does not need to be marketed and advertised.
“It should be a couple's own decision made at their own pace. Saying 'come on do it quickly as it's free' puts an awful lot of pressure on people at a sensitive time when they are hurting.”
He added, “Putting a time limit on it is definitely putting pressure on people to make a snap decision. In the interests of society, we should put as much effort as possible to strengthening marriage.”
The number of divorces in England and Wales is down to its lowest level since 1974, according to the U.K. Office for National Statistics.
The number of couples getting divorced has fallen for six years in a row, with the average age for divorce standing at 44 for men and 41.5 for women.
Those in their late 20s had the highest divorce rates of 21.7 men and 25.1 women per 1,000 married people.
The spokesman for the Diocese of Exeter, Martin Shepherd also condemned the special offer by Firm Follett Stock Solicitors. Shepherd told The Daily Mail: “The free divorce offer is an attention-seeking stunt intended to attract business from elsewhere. Its tone seems at odds with the emotional cost that will always be involved somewhere in divorce cases.”
However, the special offer was defended by an Associate Partner at the firm Rebecca Gurgul who said they were just trying to help those in need. She said, “We don't think marriage is insignificant but a lot of people going through a divorce struggle with the cost of it all.”
Gurgul also told The Daily Mail that already a number of couples had signed up for the special offer.