New data has revealed a 15% increase in final orders during the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, according to Family Court Statistics Quarterly.
This surge is notable as it represents a significant shift in the dynamics of divorce proceedings. Of the 27,465 final orders granted in early 2023, 66% were granted under the new divorce law, while 34% were granted under the old divorce law.
These statistics suggest that the new legislation, which encourages joint applications and removes the ability to make allegations about a spouse’s conduct, is making divorce proceedings more efficient and amicable, leading to quicker resolutions for couples in conflict.
In the first quarter of 2023, the mean average time from application to conditional order (88% granted under the new divorce legislation) was 38 weeks, up 12 weeks from the same period in 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 2022.
This extension in the divorce process is partly due to the mandatory waiting period between applying for divorce and applying for the conditional order, which now stands at 20 weeks. For cases initiated under the old law, these timelines are even more extended.
What’s more, during the first quarter of 2023, 96% of all divorce cases were processed digitally, up from 88% in the same period in 2022. This digitization has streamlined certain aspects of divorce proceedings, with digital cases averaging 31 weeks from application to conditional order and 42 weeks on average from application to final order.