Divorce proceedings | Changes now in place

Posted on July 7, 2015

I mentioned in a previous blog piece that there were changes afoot concerning the commencement and processing of divorce proceedings.

Well, it has now officially changed. As from 18 May 2015, any divorce petitions that would have been sent to Southend or Chelmsford are now sent to the Designated Divorce Centre at Bury St Edmunds. There is an exception for urgent petitions, for example in a jurisdictional race or if an injunction is needed to stop one party from getting rid of matrimonial assets. Those are rare and so most cases will be going to Bury St Edmunds, and there they will stay, unless a hearing is needed.

If the divorce proceedings are undefended and there is a financial consent order, the case will never leave Bury St Edmunds. All of the paperwork will be dealt with there by judges and the newly trained legal advisors.

It doesn’t quite end there as more changes are in the pipeline. The divorce petition, which is a standard form issued by HM Court and Services, is due for an overhaul. The updated petition is expected by the end of September 2015, if not sooner. In the divorce petition, there will be added boxes for email addresses and telephone numbers to improve communication with the court. There will also be a box for the applicant (the person who begins the proceedings) to say where they want a hearing if the case has to leave Bury St Edmunds. If a preference is not given, the local court for the hearing would be allocated based on the postcode of the applicant.

There are, on average, 120,000 sent to the court each year and ultimately, Bury St Edmunds expect to deal with 40,000 per year. The work over 28 courts is being transferred to Bury St Edmunds with the Central Family Court in London being the last to move over on 20 July 2015. There will most likely be slight changes as the process beds in, but it is all systems go – except for a direct telephone line which had not been installed as of 18 June 2015. Still, onwards and upwards. What we are hoping for is a time efficient processing of divorce and civil partnership dissolution papers for our clients at a time when they need as little additional stress as possible.

If you have any queries regarding divorce matters, please contact us on divorce@jefferieslaw.co.uk.

Speak to an expert today

Share article