Divorce Centre Delays
Once upon a time a client would ask how long will it take for my divorce to be finalised and a confident response would have been between 4 – 6 months, as long as the other party co-operates with the proceedings.
However this time frame has steadily increased since the introduction of the Regional Divorce Centre’s which was rolled out between November 2014 and October 2015. This change saw the removal of divorce proceedings being dealt with in the local Family Courts to one of 11 regional divorce centres across England and Wales (Bury St Edmunds, Southampton, Nottingham, Stoke, Doncaster, Durham, Bradford, Liverpool, Wrexham, Neath and Newport).
It was believed that this change would speed up the progress of uncontested divorces as well as promote efficiency whilst also reduce waiting times for hearings. Though the changes appear to have had the opposite effect.
The Law Gazette recently published an article following a response to a freedom of information request to HM Courts and Tribunals Service, which revealed that the time it now takes to obtain a divorce from issue of the petition by the Court to Decree Absolute (to finalise the divorce) was up by 9% from 2017 to 373 days (as at the end of September 2018).
It also revealed that the average time for waiting for Decree Nisi to be pronounced had increased by 17% to an average of 195 days from issuing the petition to Decree Nisi.
Unfortunately it doesn’t appear as though things are going to improve in the near future with staffing levels at the court also reported to be falling. As a result the answer to the question as to how long it will take for a divorce to be finalised is now more likely to be around 12 months, however if things do not improve it could be much longer.
Here at Ridley & Hall we deal with your divorce as quickly and efficiently as we can and keep in regular contact with the court regarding the delays which are being experienced. Sadly we too are at the mercy of the court and are as frustrated as our clients at the impact these delays are causing, as well as the fact that not enough money is being injected into the HM Courts and Tribunals Service to provide a better service to the court users.
If you would like to discuss divorce proceedings please do not hesitate to contact a member of our family team on 0800 8 60 62 65.