The idea of a quick divorce is a thing of the past with the introduction of a new system that can’t cope with demand, says family law Partner Catherine Loadman.
In June 2015 the Government set up 11 divorce centres across England and Wales to deal with the issue and administration of new divorces. For London and the South East, a huge geographical area, all divorces begin in Bury St Edmunds divorce centre rather than the local family court. It was thought that, once up and running Bury St Edmunds would deal with 40% of the divorce work in England and Wales.
12 months on, the first statistics have been published and they make worrying reading – indicating that the number of divorces issued in the last 12 months far exceeds the levels that were anticipated or planned for.
By way of example, every day they receive;
It is anticipated the Bury St Edmunds are likely to be issuing between 40,000 to 45,000 new divorce petitions in the 12 months it has been open.
In the wake of these figures, Resolution, the national organisation for family lawyers has stated that the divorce centres are under “significant strain”.
Things don’t fare much better if you are issuing an application in relation to children. Cafcass, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, who provide independent reports for the courts are also under strain.
In June 2016 Cafcass received a total of 3,599 new private law referrals – up 6% on last year. For the first 3 months of 2016 Cafcass received 10,327 new private law cases, an increase of 14% on this time last year.
The introduction of divorce centres, the pressures on Cafcass and the closure of family courts across the country are all adding to the time it takes to conclude family matters. This in turn adds to the pressure and stresses on those involved.
Our family law specialists are trained to advise and assist couples to resolve matters, whether that be by way of negotiation or via the court. The team includes members of the Law Society’s Family Panel and Advanced Family Panel, accredited Resolution specialists and Collaborative Family Lawyers.
MORE INFORMATIONIf you would like more information please contact our Family Law Department on 01708 229444 (Upminster or Hornchurch), 01277 211755 (Brentwood office) or 01702 418433 (Leigh-on-Sea). We offer a free initial 30 minute consultation for all new family law enquiries. You can book your free initial family consultation using our online booking form or by calling your local office. This half hour appointment will allow you to explain the situation with an expert lawyer and discuss the best steps to minimise delays.
This article was written by Catherine Loadman, a Family Law Partner based at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors’ Brentwood office. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at September 2016.