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HMCTS figures confirm divorce ‘bulge’

By Monidipa Fouzder >>

(16 June 2022)

Nearly 13,000 couples filed for divorce in the first four weeks after reforms designed to make the process less acrimonious came into force, according to official figures. This equates to roughly 1,000 more applications per week than in the same period last year.

Under provisions of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, couples are no longer required to assign blame for the breakdown of their marriage.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service revealed that 12,978 applications were made under the new system in April. Last year the courts received 6,764 digital and 1,965 paper applications.

For the first time, couples can make a joint divorce application. HMCTS received 2,771 joint and 10,207 sole applications.

Law Society vice-president Lubna Shuja said the latest figures reflect the ‘bulge’ that Chancery Lane and family practitioners expected. ‘By not having to prove a fault-based fact against their ex-partner, separating couples and their children will not have to suffer unnecessary conflict and anxiety. We will continue to monitor the new law and any future statistical reports and will feed this back to our members,’ Shuja added.

HMCTS said the service was performing well so far. ‘On launch day, our first acknowledgement of service was received within 30 minutes of issuing an application. This proved that serving by email is far quicker than under the old law,’ the agency said.

The first conditional offers confirming that the marriages and civil partnerships can end are expected to be issued in August, with final orders to legally end the marriage later this autumn.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)