Divorce proceedings to be split from financial applications
From next Monday (June 19) family court divorce proceedings will run separately to financial applications.
The rollout of ‘administrative de-linking’ across England and Wales follows a successful trial said Family Division President Sir James Munby and HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) deputy chief executive Kevin Sadler. In a joint letter to judges and court staff, they explained:
“We are pleased to say that the pilot has been successful and achieved its aim of introducing a more streamlined process which reduces the delays currently experienced by court users as files are transferred between courts by up to two weeks.”
De-linking is intended to address delays caused by contested financial applications – for maintenance or a financial settlement. Currently, when these crop up, the entire case is referred from the divorce centre processing the application back to the local family court for a hearing to resolve the disagreement. In an earlier letter Sir James and the deputy chief executive noted:
“This builds in delay for court users and is resource intensive for HMCTS staff to administer.”
Now, the main proceedings will continue in the divorce centre while the former couple try to reach an agreement in separate family court proceedings. Once a settlement has been achieved, staff at the divorce centre will draft and issue a consent order setting out its terms.
Read the letter here.