Family Law Blog

Changes to the family courts

06 March 2015, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

The principal changes that that will come into effect from April 2015 are:

1. There are 11 divorce centres covering the North East (Durham, Doncaster, Harrogate and Bradford), the North West (Liverpool), Wales (Neath, Newport and Wrexham), Midlands (Nottingham and Stoke), the South West (Southampton); and London and the South East (Bury St Edmunds)

2. Divorce petitions and applications for financial remedy orders should be send by post to one of the centres mentioned above.

3. Where a hearing is required this will take place, where possible, at the preferred local court. The Family Procedure Rules Committee will be considering changes to the divorce petition and Form A to facilitate the choice of hearing venue on the forms.

4. The above does not currently apply to petitions for dissolution (with the exception of in the North East) but it will do in the future.

5. Applications for financial consent orders should be sent to the divorce centre that handled the divorce and will usually be dealt with by the District Judges at those centres. However, some may be sent to local hearing centres.

6. Where a financial remedy application has been issued and sent to a local hearing centre, the divorce will continue at the divorce centre. The divorce centre will notify the local hearing centres of the progress of the divorce.

7. There is no restriction on the issuing of urgent petitions, as long as there are District Judges onsite. As with point 3, changes are proposed to the divorce petition to highlight issues of urgency.

8. Applications to vary or discharge an order should be made to the divorce centre and, if necessary, they will be redirected to the local hearing centre.