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Are less people getting divorced? What the stats really reveal

Every quarter, the Family Court issues stats on how many divorces take place courts in England and Wales. Managing Director Rita Gupta looks at the figures released for July to September 2023, and compares these to her own experiences here at LGFL.

 

27,290 divorce applications, down 12%

Many of the newspapers latched onto the fact that divorce applications in July-September 2023 were down 12% on the same period last year. However, last year we were still taking applications from couples who had waited until the “no fault’ legislation came into force. So 2022 applications were inevitably up.

At LGFL, we’ve found that over the 2023 summer period, we had less enquiries about divorces. This is nothing unusual, in that parents with children may delay filing for divorce until after the school summers holidays. Also, the cost of living crisis meant that people were looking for cheaper ways to divorce.

However, we’re now seeing the effects of those choices.

  • We have advised couples who realised in September that they were only delaying the inevitable, and we had a busy autumn as a result.
  • Sadly, too, we had to deal with the fallout of people filing for divorce online and not completing the forms correctly.

Many also discovered to their cost that whilst you can file for divorce online yourself, that’s only the start of the process. Sorting out the crucial life-important components of a divorce, including a financial settlement and child arrangements, can be complex and involved. The online filing process offers no advice or support in the creation of settlements and arrangements that are tailored to your needs and circumstances.

By taking legal advice early, you can understand what is required to obtain the best outcome for you and your family. Appointing a family lawyer will ensure you benefit from their experience and expert knowledge, and enables you to move forward with confidence. LGFL will deal with the legal paperwork and day to day progress of your divorce application, leaving you to concentrate on your family.

 

1% decrease in domestic violence remedy order applications

A 1% decrease is barely significant in our experience, as these stats only account for domestic violence. We increasingly deal with cases under the wider definition of domestic abuse, and especially cases involving coercive control. The good news is that the awareness of this aspect of domestic abuse is growing, gradually eroding the significant role it often plays in preventing victims coming forward.

However, the summer figures for domestic violence will inevitably increase in the quarter from October to December, due to financial stress and emotional tensions over the Christmas period.

 

Divorce timescales down

The timescales or divorce proceedings decreased from the same period in 2022, as the no fault system is now bedded in, and the courts are finally clearing most of their backlog.

  • The mean average time between application to conditional order was 41 weeks, down 2 weeks.
  • The mean average time from application to final order was 65 weeks, down 1 week.
  • For all-digital cases through the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre, the average time to conditional order was 32 weeks.

However, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a quickie divorce. There is a mandatory waiting period between applying for divorce and applying for the conditional order (CO) of at least 20 weeks. So the divorce timescales CANNOT reduce any lower than this.

 

Thinking of getting divorced in 2024?

Contact us first. There is no substitute for professional, timely and accurate legal advice from an experienced divorce lawyer. Our expertise can help ensure you achieve the best outcome for you and your family with the minimum of stress. Our clients often say how their initial outlay on advice and legal services was repaid many times over by the advice, support and outcomes achieved by the LGFL team.

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