• February 23, 2024
 Divorce applications down 5% since last year

Divorce applications down 5% since last year

New data released by the Ministry of Justice has revealed the number of divorce applications between January and March this year was 5% lower than the same period last year.

The 28,865 applications made this year came under the new legislation which came into effect from 6th April 2022 and allowed couples to end their marriage jointly – and without the need to assign blame.

Of the applications made this year, just 24% were made jointly – something Teresa Cullen, family law partner at Fladgate, described as “somewhat surprising”:

“Whether this is due to a lack of knowledge that a joint application may be made, or whether it reflects a concern that a joint application may take longer or be more complicated, has yet to be established.”

There were 27,465 final orders in January to March 2023 (18,164 granted under the new divorce law, whilst 9,301 decree absolutes/final orders granted under old divorce law). This represents an increase of 15% compared to the same quarter in 2022.

With regards to the timeliness of divorce proceedings, in January to March 2023, the mean average time from application to conditional order (88% granted under the new divorce legislation) was 38 weeks, up 12 weeks from January to March 2022.

The mean average time from application to final order (66% granted under the new divorce legislation) was 64 weeks, up 7.5 weeks from the same period in 2022.

The government did, however, note that due to the mandatory waiting period between applying for divorce and applying for the conditional order (CO), this means that any new cases started since 6th April 2022 would have had to have waited at least 20 weeks before getting to the CO stage.

There were also 11,432 financial remedy applications made in January to March 2023, up 5% from the same period in 2022, while there were 10,744 financial remedy disposals events, down 7%. During this period, 73% of applications were uncontested and 27% were contested.

Jamie Lennox, Editor, Today's Family Lawyer

Editor of Today's Conveyancer, Today's Wills and Probate, and Today's Family Lawyer

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