Separated couples are now facing a record wait to get divorced as a result of Divorce Units trying to process a backlog of older cases.
Quarterly statistics covering January to March this year, published by the Ministry of Justice today, show that the average time from petition to decree absolute is 59 weeks. The average time from petition to decree nisi is 33 weeks – up six weeks from last year.
A question mark hangs over the future of the 11 regional divorce centres, which have been heavily criticised by senior family judges.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division, told practitioners this year that the centres ‘have not worked well’. Days later his predecessor, Sir James Munby, said in a family court judgment that the centres had become ‘bywords for delay and inefficiency, essentially because HMCTS has been unable or unwilling to furnish them with adequate numbers of staff and judges’.
We do find that unfortunately divorces are taking longer to come through and therefore we make sure that we keep our clients as updated as we possibly can throughout the process. We understand that getting a divorce is a stressful situation, without the hassle of matters being delayed. We try to do everything we can within our power to be able to keep matters moving as swiftly as we can.